Tag Archives: debates

Bible toten’ gun slingers

Some time back I did a post I called “Why I don’t believe in hell.”  In the very first sentence I confess that the title is just an attention grabber and that I’m actually posting to highlight the absolute importance of placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ to be saved.  We aren’t saved by believing all the right things (including believing (as I do) that there is a hell) – but are, instead, saved by placing our faith in the right Person!

That post has received a lot of nice comments.  A few folks had a hard time getting past the subject line and wanted to be sure that I was on “their side” in the “hell debate” (even though I quoted directly from our church Manual) but by and large the exchanges have been positive and friendly.  I’ve accepted all those to be published as comments on the post.

However, every month or so I get a response intended to prove to me that hell exists or which accuses me of abandoning the faith.  Obviously, that person either didn’t read the article or didn’t understand what they read.  Those comments never see the light of day.

Simply stated, that’s not how Christians interact with one another.  We don’t ignore what people say so we can score points for Jesus.  We don’t accuse people of things without taking time to hear them out.

The Lord doesn’t commission Bible toten’ gun slingers to ride the range gunning down outlaws.  Now, I know that some nice people simply lack the tools to think through some issues and I know that others operate so far beyond me that they see flaws in my opinions that have escaped me.  The best I am able I want to be charitable to the first group.  At the same time, I hope the second group will do the same for me.

My suggestion to some who scan the Internet for people who need to be “gunned down” is that you at least take time to read what is said before you commence firing.

Quote from P.F. Bresee concerning Nazarene doctrine

P.F. Bresee is considered to be the founder of the Church of the Nazarene.  He was one of the people instrumental in helping the various groups who came together to form the denomination to find common ground.  They didn’t agree at every point, but they agreed to allow people to arrive at their own understanding on a broad range of doctrinal issues while holding fast to certain core beliefs.  To find out what those core beliefs are, check out the “Agreed Statement of Belief” section around page 37 in the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene.

Concerning all the other stuff, Bresee urged tolerance governed by love.  I recently read something written by Fletcher Tink in which he quotes Brezee on this topic:

“On the great fundamentals we are all agreed. Pertaining to things not essential to salvation, we have liberty. To attempt to emphasize that which is not essential to salvation and thus to divide forces, would be a crime. An unwillingness for others to enjoy the liberty that we enjoy in reference to doctrines not vital to salvation is bigotry, from which the spirit of holiness withdraws itself.” (Bold by me)

I’ve heard various versions of the first part of this quote several times, but the second is new to me.  Apparently, Bresee isn’t just all warm and fuzzy on this topic.  Rather, he’s rather stern about it, saying those who insist on loading other stuff into the equation are practicing a sort of doctrinal “bigotry” and, because of that are operating somewhere outside the “spirit of holiness.”

I can’t help but wonder what he would think of some of the debates and finger pointing we see within our number today.