Berean cogitations

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Churches or denominations that think they're right

Earlier this month, I had a conversation with a fellow believer as he complained about Christian intolerance. He said (and I paraphrase), "I really don't like those churches or denominations who think they're the only ones that are right."

Something about his words made me uncomfortable. It was only a couple of days later that I realized what it was.

When a church or denomination takes a doctrinal stance, then OF COURSE it's because they believe they're right. After all, that's what doctrine is about, right? And if they believe they're right, then logically, they must consider groups with different doctrinal views to be wrong. That's the nature of logic. So naturally, a right-thinking church will consider its own views to be correct. And naturally, it wil say that churches with differing doctrines are in error. This isn't a moral condemnation (at least, not necessarily); rather, it's just plain common sense.

The only way to avoid this is for a church to say "Oh, there is no genuine right or wrong. Truth is relative." Now, most evangelical churches would never actually say such a thing; however, this worldview is often reflected in their actions. When a church says that there are multiple interpretations of a passage, for example, and that no single interpretation is preferable -- that's relativism. Or when a church refuses to correct the doctrines of other congregations, that is practicing relativism as well. In effect, it's saying, "You believe what you want, and we'll believe what we want. In the end, it doesn't really matter."

One pastor said to me recently, "We all just need to decide what we want to follow." I was rather discomfitted by that answer, since I think it's only a small part of the truth. We must certainly make a decision, but that's not ALL that we must do. No, we must also make sure that our decisions line up squarely with the truth of God's Word. It's not simply a matter of personal preference.

Moral relativism has crept into the Christian community. Be afraid. Be very afraid.