What happens when we rub shoulders with those outside our own Christian faith tradition? Slippery slope arguments would contend we may jettison our convictional framework in favor of the novelty of something new. Generally what we find in a new tradition is something that may be deficient in our own. It does not necessarily follow we leave our tradition behind, but sometimes it may.
Recently my friend Tim wrote a piece describing his move down the Canterbury Trail. I picked up the late Robert Webber’s little book, Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail. He describes his journey from his Baptist roots in a fundamentalist church in Pennsylvania to embrace the Anglican tradition. His sentiment should be our own when he wrote,
The church that I now claim as my own and the one that is owned by other contributors to this book is a particular tradition, the Anglican tradition. But I think we would all say Anglicanism itself is not the truth, it is one of the ways of describing and living ou the truth of Jesus Christ, living, dying, and rising again for the salvation of the world. (p.15)
Many of us younger Southern Baptists believe this should be the sentiment of our own tradition. Instead many tend to tread on every tradition in the way Webber described his growing up years,
The best Christians were fundamentalists. And the best fundamentalists were Baptists. Catholics were pagan. Episcopalianism was a social club. Lutherans had departed from the faith. Presbyterians were formalistic. And Pentecostals were off-center. NowÂ I may not have been taught these overly simplistic convictionsÂ explicitly. But I must hvae picked them up somewhere in my youth, because for a long time this is what I believed with all my heart. (p.13)
Oh that we could find the intersection of the various Christian traditions to be a benefit to our following Jesus.