Saturday, February 18, 2006

Dissing Those Who Are Doctrinally Different

An e-mail crossed my desk the other day from a fellow I respect a lot. He raised an interesting question. At this point, he doesn't want to go public with the actual issue, so I won't name him. Hopefully I can disguise the content enough so that it won't point to him.

When Christians are engaged in political debate, we sometimes treat those who disagree with us regarding Christian doctrine rather badly. A major such group would be Catholics. I have folks who I regard highly who believe that Catholics are heretics or worse. They will, if pushed, say that it is only the Catholic Church that they so disparage, and not individual parishioners. But I wonder.

Many Catholics are quite conservative politically, and share very strong feelings with evangelicals regarding issues like abortion. In fact, evangelicals are more likely to find themself agreeing politically with Catholics than they are Methodists or Anglicans which are still not on the heretic list anywhere that I can see.

I want to be very clear. I am, and always have been, and ecumenacalist. Does this mean I don't believe in absolute truth? Am I some kind of wishy-washy Baptist, ready to drop my defense of immersion or inerrancy? No. However, I'm also not so sure of these fine points that I'm going to war over them. Nor am I going to look down my nose at those who I believe to be wrong on these issues. I can assert my point of view without discounting the possibility of there's being true.

Most of my friends in the faith agree about the core things that really matter. And these things clearly separate us from Mormons and LDS. Now here is the real point. What do our doctrinal differences have to do with politics? Even for those whom we believe are totally confused, and not headed for heaven. Why is it important to draw these distinction in political discourse?


No comments: