Recently Scot McKnight posted a letter from a reader and asked how others might respond by doing so in the comment thread. For a variety of reasons I moved beyond the debates over Calvinism, Reformed Theology and who is “Truly Reformed.” It is not that I do not think we Southern Baptists have not been influenced by the Doctrines of Grace, it is simply that many inter-nicene squabbles do very little for the sake of the Gospel. This is especially so when it spills over into a wider culture who is not asking the question, “Are you TR?” (TR is blogospheric shorthand for Truly Reformed. It is generally a pejorative reference to those unwilling to have conversation outside the sphere of Reformed Theology. I guess it may be used from time to time in derision as if to say, “You are not Truly Reformed therefore we need not listen to you.”)
I cannot recall the referrer, to some this is rude in the world of blog, but I happened on to a post by Abraham Piper. He wrote a response to the letter McKnight posted. Abraham did a fine job of drawing out some stellar points for anyone bent on the kind of immovable certainty with regard to his or her theological position when engaging another person. Here is a section of the post with a minor edit, or major depending on your perspective:
In my marriage, it doesn’t matter whether I’m thankful if I don’t seem like it. And in the church, it doesn’t matter whether we have the fruits of the Spirit if no one can tell.
It won’t be easy to change the pejorative stereotype that clings to _______, but we can start by admitting that it is accurate far too often. Then we can make sure we are manifestly not self-righteous, condescending, arrogant, unfriendly, or argumentative. Also, you can count on us to buy dinner or coffee sometimes.
Paying attention to those who disagree with us and taking them seriously, even if we’re pretty sure we’ll still disagree, is part of what it means to be in the body of Christ. It’s humbling; it sanctifies. It will make us better husbands and wives. It will make us better Christians, and maybe even better ________.
The entire piece is worth a read. Kinder Christians to one another may move us to being Kinder Christians toward others. Now that would be a “setting to rights” worth shouting “Good News” over!