Catchy title huh? But it arises out of a really disappointing experience that I had recently. I am a theology junkie. I am committed to Orthodox Christian faith but I am not a fundamentalist. I am begrudgingly accepting of the label “evangelical” because to far too many evangelicals I am a “progressive”. I don’t buy into biblical inerrancy. I believe in evolution. I think that the Adam and Eve story are “true myth” as opposed to actual historical events. Maybe they were “real” people, it really doesn’t matter because their story is my story, your story, our story. I don’t see that it really matters all that much. We weren’t there at the time so we really don’t know do we? Yet it is pretty obvious that just like Adam and Eve we all inevitably chose the “forbidden fruit”, we listen to that slithering, snaky serpent, and we sin against God. We lose the “garden”. We try to hide our “nakedness”. And we die. So what’s the big deal? The Genesis story is true for each one of us whether it is true or not.
I am a Facebook junkie. I have met the coolest people via this medium of social networking. I have a wide range of friends and we have some really interesting discussions. One of the coolest people I “met” was Thomas Jay Oord. He is a Nazarene professor, preacher, and an advocate of Open Theism. He holds to a decidedly Wesleyan view of scripture and has been an important voice in resisting those in the Nazarene church who have been pushing the church to adopt the language of biblical inerrancy in the doctrinal statement. They recently rejected (again) an attempt to take their denomination down this road. I admire him for his stand for historical Wesleyanism and his resistance to committing his denomination to the brain draining commitment to biblical inerrancy.
I recently joined in a discussion that he and some of his Facebook friends were having. The discussion was pretty evenly divided. Yet there was this one fellow who was equating a “non-inerrant” view of scripture with compromise, slippery slopes, and not being quite “orthodox”.
I offered the Wesleyan view that “scripture is sufficient for the knowledge of salvation” (loose quote but you get the point) and that the idea of biblical inerrancy was not Wesleyan, nor was it historic. Rather, it is a fairly new view of scripture and that the Nazarenes should avoid it like the plague. I was getting “likes” (a whole bunch of them) from Oord and his friends.
The one fellow kept making broad statements and to be honest he may as well have said that we were all going to hell. He typed with lots of !!!!!!!!!!!!, so I jokingly said, “wow all those !!!!!! lends intellectual credibility to your argument, it worked, I am CONVINCED OF INERRANCY, NOT!
Well apparently that was too much. It was half joking, yet I guess it was a bit smart arsed. All of a sudden I couldn’t see the conversation. I had been BLOCKED (oh my lions, and tigers, and bears). It was the oddest feeling.
Oord a man of extraordinary intellect, who had been berated and beat upon by “good Christian brothers” like ole “fundy fellow” had blocked me. My comment was uncharitable. Hmmm ok, if I was a potty mouth I would type WTF, but I am not, so I didn’t. But it became ever so clear to me that we moderates are far too nice to those who want us to go away and speak to us as if we are heretics and heathens. We tolerate their crazy rants, we baby them, we pamper them, we lovingly caress them trying to soothe their fears, and then we come after “our own” with a vengeance.
I wonder just what the heck is wrong with us? Why do we do that? Was it uncharitable for me to poke fun of “ole fundy fellow”? Perhaps but maybe a good dose of reality is helpful. But it was more than Oord could tolerate.
I fumed for a day or so. I was frustrated. I even had “hurt feelings” (yuk, man up). I even emailed an apology with no response. Sometimes I don’t understand theologians, especially those who, like me self identify as moderates or take “moderate theological positions”. Why is it ok for Fundamentalists and left-wingers to be mean, yet we moderates slaughter one another for even the smallest hint of having “manned up and grown a pair”.
Oh well I will never know, at least from Oord because he didn’t respond….
- Thomas Jay Oord (toddrisser.com)