PastorChat: Spectrums and Layers

Well… this is what I learned from talking with the pastor, and it really is a “God-breeze”… but I have to clarify that what he tried to teach me was messed up… ok, wrong.  I was able to see truth in it and make the corrections so that it’s right now, and makes sense.  And I drew a graph to help illustrate  ((don’t laugh!!)) but don’t have the program I need to show it to you.

The center of Christianity is called the ‘core’.  ((He also said some circles call it ‘dogma’, but I don’t move in those circles. I’m blonde:  it’s a core.))  The core is (in his words) – the Apostle’s Creed, the Lycean Creed, the foundations of our belief.  In my words?  It’s the basic beliefs of the Church.  There is one God, one Son, one Spirit.  The Son became the only sinless man, born of a virgin, and died for our sins on a cross once for all so that we might have eternal life thru faith alone in Him.  He rose from the grave and is sole intercessor for our sins at the right hand of the Father.  The Holy Spirit is within us, interceding for us and directing us.  That’s core.  It’s black-and-white; unchangable.

The next ‘layer’ is also black-and-white… and it’s called ‘doctrine’.  Doctrine is the teachings of God.  Doctrine fully supports the core, puts meat on the core, and teaches us further, and is provided thru scripture, prayer, and the Holy Spirit.  Now Pastor said that doctrine isn’t black-and-white, that people can believe whatever they want as long as they believe the same core.  But then why would God put truths before us?  Why would He give us a ‘sword’ if we wouldn’t need anything more than that decision?  It’s simply not true – we need to be edified.  We need fellowship.  We need a connection to our Savior.  We need to model ourselves after Him, and grow in Him.  That’s the purpose of doctrine. 

The next layer has some gray area – it’s conviction.  People have convictions that are sometimes supported by scripture, and sometimes not.  Infant baptism.  Whether or not you can lose your salvation.  Election of the saints vs. Free will.  These are things people have convictions about… and they get their convictions from family, friends, pastors, articles they read… This is the layer that has a spectrum.  You have people who believe very loosely, and those who are rock solid in legalism.  However, these things can be proven with doctrine, and it is imperative to check the Word when you aren’t sure why you believe what you believe.  ((Like I had to in regards to women in ministry, for example.))  Always refer to God’s Word to be sure that what you are hearing/reading is supported.

The last layer is preference… and this is a total gray area.  It’s stuff like… “I like only hymns sung in church.”  “It bothers me when men have long hair.”  “I feel organs make a service more regal.”  These things aren’t convictions… convictions are directly linked to doctrine – stem from doctrine, and can be proven with doctrine… but preference is on a personal level.

Christmas is not a preference – it is directly linked to doctrine, so it is a conviction.  Convictions can be proven with doctrine… but they also have a spectrum range to take into consideration when dealing with them.  

So this was helpful to me in differentiating what falls where, and how it relates to our thought patterns… but I didn’t get an answer thru this.  The answer came…

((…to be continued… this was a mouthful in itself!!))

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