Shelter and doctrine

I just reread a tract titled, “Is Mormonism Christian?” by the Institute for Religious Research. It explains very simply and dogmatically why Christianity and Mormonism are two different faiths. If Christian teaching and right doctrine alone were enough to minister to people than all I would need to do would be to place this tract in a person’s hands and all would be right with the world.

But alas, people of different faiths come to their faiths in different ways. We relate to our faiths differently too. I have some new friends who have had a whole lot of different experiences with churches and their home church. They are of the Latter Day Saints faith. They speak of it as thought there is no difference between it and say Presbyterianism. A lot of Presbyterians would have no trouble agreeing with it either. I happen to currently be a member of a Presbyterian church, while also pastoring at NLEC.

But alas, orthodox Christian that I am, I know that Mormon doctrine is very different than Christian doctrine. So what should my approach be with my new friends? Well, I met them because they are in need. They are homeless and also very sick. Would now be a good time to use shelter and food to convert them? I think not. Because I work in direct assistance, I’m very leery of “God talk” that is meant to take the place of action. I’m also leery of any religion that does not respect personal time, space, and the independence to make choices.

So my approach to living near and sharing with my new friends is to listen to them and make space for their growth. I want my orthodox faith to demonstrate itself in little ways by the grace God gives me. I have no love, no purity of doctrine, no holiness in myself. It is all a gift. So I don’t want to get in the way of that gift. If we have opportunity to talk about our faiths, I’m all into that. For the time being we’re all very busy trying to make a living during a very difficult time.

Does that make me sound like a liberal? I don’t know, I know some very dogmatic, irreverent, and loud liberals. If by liberal it means I take responsibility for what I say and do than OK. But everything I believe about the Bible, Church History, and living out the faith is expressed daily by the way I keep my house and treat my kids, and love my neighbors. There’s a lot to live up to, and I take it a day at a time by God’s grace.

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1 Comment

Filed under Bible, homelessness, theology

One response to “Shelter and doctrine

  1. I really do appreciate your thoughts. I wish the rest of my “family” resembled the careful approach you seem to take to your Christian faith as integrates with earthly life. cheers, rd

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