A few years back I read your Genesis, Science & History. For me this book placed the creation account soundly out of the reach of "scientific creationism" and into its actual literary context. I began to see evolution (micro and macro) as a viable option. Since then, I have been fascinated by the subject of evolution and this opened up not only biology, but also the fields of geology, astronomy, physics, and several other scientific. Unfortunately, I brought this up to my church and I found myself in a room, defending myself against young-earth creationists. We debated over three weeks about this before I convinced them how little evolution has to do with our Christianity. Now we're at it again, this time arguing over the nature of free will. I've read your blog on Reform Theology, and it makes a lot of sense. I can't accept a view of determinism concerning free will (nor open theism). The Bible, let alone salvation, makes little sense if there is no free will. Since I now lean toward Arminianism, my church (Northcliffe Southern Baptist, Florida) is deciding whether I am in violation of the Southern Baptist Convention's Constitution. It feels like our evolution debate all over again. Is either one (a literary understanding of the creation account or Arminianism) a matter of salvation? If not, should I simply accept the church's position? You've always had wonderful insights and I thank you greatly for thoughts on this matter. -- Jesse
Jesse, neither is a matter of salvation. But some people’s whole identity is tightly wrapped around their position on a single issue. I am sure this is what the Lord warned us against.
I would not just accept the church’s position. And if you aren’t allowed to be a member without subscribing to the Baptist creed, then you will need to find another place, a new church -- for two reasons. First, the lesser of the two: they’re wrong. Second, they’re trying to force an opinion matter (at best) or a false doctrine (at worst). Remaining where you are is not wise; you will be squelched. You may be smothered.
There's no need for the flame of your passion to be extinguished, nor for you to be subjected to discipline simply for disagreement over non-central doctrines. Does that help?