Read the rest.In my online forays, I've observed it's increasingly common for people to explicitly reject a doctrine, or the notion of orthodox teaching in general, on the basis of its abuse. You'll often read something along these lines: "I grew up in a church that had a heavy emphasis on doctrine X (depravity, judgment, sola scriptura, etc.). My pastors and elders used that doctrine to berate people, cow them into submission, or excuse horrible evils." So now, whenever they hear doctrine X, they can't accept it because they know (feel) it's a tool being used to control them or bring about another harmful result. In fact, some will go further and elevate this reaction into a principle of theological methodology: if a doctrine could be or has been used to hurt or damage, it must be rejected out of hand.
I understand the impulse. For those who have been beat down with the Bible like it's a weapon, or doctrines like they're billy clubs, when they see someone pick them up—even as agents of healing—some post-traumatic stress makes sense. It can be hard to distance or differentiate a doctrine from its uses, especially if that's all you've ever known. It doesn't matter if someone's trying to offer you an oxygen mask; if someone used one to choke you out in the first place, you're going to flinch when you see it.
Friday, September 06, 2013
Labels: Theological Controversy