Sunday, November 30, 2008

Speaking the Same Thing

When I am asked of my theological leanings, the answer is almost always Arminian, sometimes Wesleyan or even evangelical Protestant. When asked who or what I am, my reply is Christian yet the title of this blog refers to the thoughts of an Arminian Christian. We get caught up in labels, some we approve of and others swiped against us without warning or desire. Certainly we apply labels to others and the truth of the matter is that labels help identify a set of beliefs one holds. Yet can we be said to speak the same thing if some of us are known as Arminians and others Calvinistic? The Apostle admonishes us in the following.

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them [which are of the house] of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" (1Co 1:10-13 AV)

Paul looks at the divisions and contentions and recognizes that we too easily lose sight of who and what we are, followers of Jesus Christ. There are ecumenical things we are to speak whether Arminian, Calvinist, Baptist, Charismatic or even Catholic. These same things we are to speak are not the unique distinctives that identify us as denominations. We do not preach TULIP thinking we are preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nor do the FACTs of Arminian thinking become what constitutes our ecumenical message. The Pentecostal preacher does no service to the LORD in preaching the doctrine of the essential evidence of tongues thinking this is the Good News. There is something else we need to speak to be united as one in Christ.

"But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Ro 10:8-11 AV)