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Having a stake in your theological position

Bobby writes here about the dangers inherent in confessionalism

I particularly liked this phrase:

I’m not saying that our various traditions and confessions aren’t important, but that “our” stake in those confessions is unimportant.

It's so true that we have a stake in our theological positions and Christian labels.  We find identity in the alignments we make within the body.

This is what can make Christian blogging so darned nasty at times!  Let's be honest - there's a lot of unChristian-ness on Christian blogs.  Why?  Well a lot of it is because we're not just discussing ideas out there.  We have a stake in our positions.  We justify ourselves through our theology.  We have bought into our tribe and our tribal identity.  We know where we stand in the world because we wear the colours...  And this bozo over here is flying a different flag.  And it's so hard to hear what they say because they're not dressed up as one of you.  It's easier simply to shout out "You're a blue tribe, I'm a red tribe."  But what has that achieved?  Only to re-inforce our party-spirit, to demonize and to distract our attention from the actual content of our Christian witness.  

Paul faced exactly this with the Corithians:

"I am of Paul"  "No, no, I am of Apollos" (1 Cor 3:4).

The "I" is very prominent here. We beat our chests and find strength in our parties.  

And Paul's answer? 

"You are Christ's!" (v23) "And in Him, Paul and Apollos are yours! (v22). 

When you understand you don't belong to Christian teachers or factions but to Christ, there's a tremendous liberation.  I'm not a "red tribe" man.  I belong to Jesus.  "The LORD is my banner" (Ex 17:15)

And free from the need to beat my tribal drum I can see Paul and Apollos and Cephas for who they are - just servants of Christ.  I don't belong to them, they belong to me.  Everything they say is mine in Christ.  All their good stuff doesn't belong to them, it belong to Christ and in Christ it's mine. 

We don't have a stake in our theological positions.  We belong only to Jesus.  Every other position belongs to us. 

21 So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.  (1 Cor 3:21-23)

 Here's a sermon of mine on exactly this point: 1 Corinthians 3

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0 thoughts on “Having a stake in your theological position

  1. Bobby Grow

    Nicely said Glen, thanks for the link. Party identification is certainly more comfortable, but real communion with Christ is much more exposed and vulnerable, i.e I can't control it.

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