Monday Musings for July 25, 2016

Good morning, Musers,

 
Today's questioner is arguing that we should consider mind-reading as a spiritual gift — after all, Jesus did it, right? Well.... wrong! The gift of special (miraculous) knowledge is not a spiritual gift; it is a miracle, and it is not equal to "prophecy." But there is no way that I can approach the topic of spiritual gifts without revealing my stand on them: I am a cessationist... but one with a twist (which the article discusses).
 
One thing I appreciate among Christians is a robust support of our core beliefs — but especially when we test our heartiness by taking different stands on secondary issues. A local church should indeed take a stand on the things that it truly believes — including secondary issues — and I would counsel these churches to keep vigil on orthodoxy. But I would also advise them to let people live a little... especially around the doctrinal edges... and we have a good example of this in Faith Church of Auburn, Massachusetts. So I'd like to use them as an example.
 
Faith Church includes on its Beliefs Page that the people may hold different views of our "beginnings" and/or our "endings" while maintaining fellowship with their body. This accommodates people who take different stands on (YEC) Young Earth Creationism versus (OEC) Old Earth Creationism, or in the end-times scenarios, while holding to the core orthodoxies of our faith. I find this to be very wise, because one of the more critical skills for the mature Christian is to avoid categorizing secondary issues as primary ones. Here is that section of their statement:
 
Faith Church is a member of the Conservative Baptist Association.  The Conservative Baptist Association is a Christian association of churches in the United States with each local congregation being autonomous and responsible for their own way of functioning.  There are some non-essential beliefs that there may be some disagreement on from person to person.  These may include interpretations of end times, the creation account in Genesis, etc.  However, the essentials of what we believe are everything listed above.​ 
 
 
So, I don't want you to get nervous when I challenge your stand on some secondary issues. Indeed, since I've changed my stand on a surprising number of issues over the years, I'm disagreeing with my former self! That's normal... honorable, really. A reasonable person (and I purport to be one, emphasizing continually that our faith is reasonable) is a person who will change his stand on an issue in response to new information. That is, when it is more likely than not that the new idea represents the best truth we know (and we're talking 51% likely here, not 99%), then a person should respond reasonably to the new data and analysis.
 
As such, I often change my mind... and I may change it back at any time... because all issues are up for constant review with me. This doesn't make my faith squishy; it makes it solid. 
 
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Evan 
 
 
 

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