I have no doubt that many of you won’t get what I’m about to say.
Others of you with a similar background and position to mine will absolutely get it. Of those who get it, some will be utterly opposed to what I say. They will take a stand against me.
It is to those who get what I am saying and find some measure of agreement with my sentiments, that I primarily address these thoughts. I hope this article will provide some affirmation and encouragement:
I really don’t get criticized all that much. I serve in a smaller ministry in a small town, so I don’t get the attention of the watchdogs of whatever they are watching. But for years I have grown tired of the idea put forth by my more conservative friends (That is how they would likely describe themselves, though I often wonder just what they are conserving.) that they take stands, while people like me refuse to do so. We are "wish-washy," "soft," "compromising," "neo-whatever," and lacking in backbone.
“Taking a stand” conjures up images of knights, and war and nobility—standing on principle, a refusal to cave-in—that sort of thing. I’ll grant that the friends I speak of are great at taking stands. I’m just not prepared to grant them a monopoly on the matter; I take stands too:
- I take a solid stand on the Bible. The Bible is the word of God. It ought to be made available to as many people as possible. Insisting on using a translation of the Bible that is 400 years old, which uses a form of English that is unintelligible to a large portion of the English speaking world makes no sense. It is my stand on the Bible that compels me to use translations that both accurately handle the original languages, and clearly speak the lingua-franca of the people to whom I minister.
The “King James Only” crowd does not stand for the Bible. They take a cultic stand for one translation of the Bible, a translation that has been very useful, but is no longer the best translation available.
- I take a firm stand on music. There are some other considerations, but basically it comes down to this. God could have given examples of acceptable and objectionable music. He didn’t. There is no music in the Bible. A variety of styles of music can be used in ministry.
- I am a staunch defender of the Bible’s teaching on Christian liberty. Those who place personal preference or group acceptance ahead of Biblical fidelity ought to be exposed and confronted.
- I believe in the unity of the Body of Christ. I am not negating the need for appropriate separation. I am saying that acting as if it is virtuous to slice and dice the church, for which Christ died, is not Biblical. (This extends to you more conservative brethren as well. I disagree with you, but I am determined to appropriately love you.)
- I stand clearly on the belief that God will fulfill His promises to Israel. I likewise stand firmly with the Old Testament prophets who proclaimed a message of justice. The modern state of Israel is not always right.
- I am totally against conservatism, when what is being conserved is a tradition that either never was Biblical, or one that no longer serves a Biblical purpose.
- I am absolutely opposed to Liberalism, when it encourages compromise on truths concerning which the Bible speaks definitively. Likewise, I stand against drawing hard, fast lines that keep others out, when Scripture invites them in.
- I take a strong stand on (and, I might add, often, in) ignorance. I am not only convinced that there are many things that I don’t know. I know that there are things that I can’t know. Furthermore, I know that some, who claim to know, don’t. (Deut. 29:29)
- One is neither more nor less spiritual, nor does he speak with greater or lesser relevance based on whether he wears a tie, or jeans. One is clearly out of step with Biblical Ministry if he allows personal preferences to interfere with ministry.
- Erring by straying to the right differs from erring to the left only in the direction in which one goes astray; one is as wrong as the other. I reject the distortion of the truth that arbitrarily says that one form of error is always better than the other. I strenuously object when this error infringes on the liberty of another.
- A prerequisite to pertinent, penetrating proclamation presupposes the purposeful, persistent purging of pointless plotting and pseudo “preacherly plans such as alliteration or the idea that lists must always be 3s, 7s, or 10s. I stand against that!