Once upon a time, I spent a year in seminary. It was the hardest year of my life.
While there I interviewed to be the pastor of a little church in Kentucky.
The interview seemed to be going ok until I was asked a question. The gentlemen asked me, “Do you believe in election?” Naively, I suppose, I said that since it was found in the Bible I believed in it.
The followup question took me even more by surprise. He said, “Are you a Calvinist?” Given that I had not really given it much thought or really developed any theological positions, I said, “I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it.” I don’t think that answer satisfied him. Even though I preached for the search team, I don’t think they really considered me much further.
A couple of years later I knew the answer to these questions better. I found out that the views I held from reading the Bible matched up fairly well with Calvinism. I didn’t really care one way or another. It was just what I believed.
A pastor of a church I knew of began making it very clear that he was anti-Calvinist. In fact, he was anti anything that he didn’t agree with, whether it was Church of Christ or any other view that varied from his.
Recently, a church in Kentucky was denied admission to a local association of churches because it hold Calvinist views. They wanted to join a group of other churches to support missions, but was excluded because people in that association did not like Calvinists.
You can probably add your own experiences to mine.
Here’s the thing.
You probably hold some views that I don’t agree with.
I probably hold some that you don’t.
We can debate it. We can have a great loving argument about it.
But unless you hold some heretical position that denies the life and work of Christ, I’m not going to sweat it too badly.
We might not worship in the same church.
Why do I have to be known for being against what you believe.
I want to be known for my relationship with Christ.
I thought we were on the same side.
Have you had any similar experiences? Do you know people who are known more for what they are against that the One who they are for?