Friday, September 27, 2013

Doctrines and labels

My daughter called me the other day. She was in the throes of debate with a staunch Calvinist. (And what two words go together better than "staunch" and "Calvinist"?) As a result of their discussion she wanted to know what I thought of "total depravity," by which her friend meant a complete inability on the part of humanity to choose what is right. I replied that whether or not such a thing is true is actually moot so long as the Holy Spirit is in the world doing the work Jesus described, that is, convicting the world. It made me ponder once again what power a labeled doctrine has. Once there is such a label, be it transubstantiation,  inerrancy or total depravity, it presents to the world an in or out, good or bad choice-- if you agree, you're in, and if you disagree you're out. That's power, that is. Now maybe we need some such labeled doctrines, but at risk of tritely quoting Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. Let's try to have as few as possible.

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