Getting it Right

Is Christianity about getting it right?

Does one have to correctly know every doctrine of Scripture to be saved and stay saved?

I recently read some older material by a respected Bible professor in a Church of Christ affliated university asserting that this- equating Christianity with getting it right- is the very reason why we have historically produced churches and people bent on arguing and division.

Makes sense. If our approach is centered around our ability to correctly identify all that is right and someone comes to different conclusion on a Bible topic- they must be wrong. And if they are wrong, then they need correcting. Hence the fight is on.

Beyond the core fundamentals of faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, do we all have to believe alike to be Christians?

Is our faith primarily in Christ or in doctrine?

What part do we have to get right to be saved?

I sure have a lot of questions, don’t I? I would welcome your answers as I blog out loud today.  

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19 Responses to Getting it Right

  1. lesjr says:

    Romans 10 speaks of the Jews and their rejection of Jesus and how they put their trust in getting it right through their own rules of righteousness–in their insistence on getting it right, ultimately verse 21 calls them an obstinate and disobedient people…

    I want to be right to the best of my ability–but I want to trust in Jesus more!

  2. mkjergaard says:

    One of my mentors says, “Even when you get it right, we’re still saved by grace.” Like Les, I want to be right to the best of my ability. I don’t like the “Jesus or doctrine?” argument — as if you can’t have one without the other (I know that’s not the argument you are making, but I have heard it a lot).

    The concept of “all of us agreeing on everything” never works. Paul told us in Romans 14 that there are disputable matters. I like the saying, “When everyone thinks alike, nobody thinks much.” The only place where people must be in lock-step agreement is in cults. Something to think about, eh?

  3. preacherman says:

    Danny,
    Great post.
    As a Christian minister in my early 30’s. I believe that there still are some essentials:
    1.Believing in the diety of Jesus. Death, Burrial, Ressurection
    2.We Must Love because without love everything that we do means nothing.
    3. We must understand that we are saved by grace. Not works.
    4. In order to be covered by the saving grace we must put our trust in God, confess that Jesus is His Son, & be Baptized (Romans 6:1-6).
    5. We must be disciples of Christ or faithful unto death.

    It isn’t legelistics laws or righteousness. It is a love relationship with God. I do the things I do out of love for God. It is the message I preach. Why do I do what I do, live the way I live? Because I love God and want to make Him happy. Since I have been a minister and it hasn’t been very long, I have been teaching the two commandments of Jesus a lot. I have see those two commandments change this church in huge way.

    I think the center of Christianity is love.

  4. dannydodd says:

    Very good posts guys.

    Les, your point about Romans 10 is well made.

    Mike, I really like what your mentor said. Thanks for adding that to our thought thread.

    And Preach, you hit it on the head. Without love nothing else matters anyway.

  5. Donna says:

    If Christianity is about getting it right….I don’t have a chance. But I think Jesus came and loved me where I would have a chance…Praise the Lord!!

  6. Trey Morgan says:

    I think it was Hybels that said, “Religion is about doing,” and Christianity is about “What Christ has done.”

    We used to sing a song called “Will it do?” I can’t remember all the song but it said, “When my life passes in review … will what I’ve done do.” It won’t. You and I will never do enough.

    Christianity is about Christ.

  7. Darin says:

    I have never been comfortable with the how much must we get right line of thinking whether it is a little or a lot, both sound like legalism. I don’t think my children wonder how much they have to get right to still be my children. I think they do at times do very well listening and at other times not so great.

    My relationship is not based on that but our shared DNA. I think that is the key. The Holy Spirit is given to those who believe, Jesus said that his sheep recognize His voice. Kind of like my kids some days I am very attentive to my Father while other days I am not so good but my DNA hasn’t changed, I still have the Spirit.

  8. Tim Hacker says:

    We face a crisis in our church culture of failing to connect with the emerging generations. Emerging generations do not like the church because they think the church is an organized religion with a political agenda, that the church is judgmental and negative, that the church is dominated by males and opresses females, that the church is homophobic, that it arrogantly claims all other religions are wrong, and that the church is full of fundamentalists who take the whole Bible literally.
    If I was a member of the emerging generation I probably wouldn’t like Christians either.

    Church leaders and Christians are now challenged to have enough missional courage to do whatever it takes to escape the Christian subculture and be citizens of the Kingdom rather than citizens of the bubble (John 17:15). We have to start thinking like Jesus; with His missional heart.

    My daughter has rejected the church as a puppetmeister with no authenticity and no hope. Her soul is on the line in this struggle, and I pray every day that the Lord’s Spirit will fill us with the courage to be real and to give her and her generation a vision of hope.

  9. dannydodd says:

    I agree with you Donna!

    Trey and Darin you both make great points.

    And Tim, you have hit on the major challenge of our churches in the 21st century. The emerging generation does not trust us and we- as a whole- have yet to figure that out and chose to still focus on issues totally irrelevent to them and to the world at large. Not only are these non-issues to them, we lose credibility in their eyes by fighting over them.

    Even with our churches shrinking we still haven’t gotten it.

  10. Tim Hacker says:

    Tammie and I are looking forward to joining a host of other leaders in Nashville at the ZOE conference where Brian McLaren will be the guest resource for the leadership conference Thursday and Friday. On Saturday we are looking forward to lifting up praise and worship with thousands of others who are sold out for Him.
    We would love to experience this with you all the first weekend in October at Woodmont HIlls.

  11. johndobbs says:

    Danny, what is it that makes a person a Christian? Is it not trusting their lives and hearts to Christ? Believers in other denominations love Jesus, study His Word, give sacrificially, and strive to tell others about the saving grace of Christ. Yet many COC people still think of them as lost and hellbound because they do not immerse immediately or commune weekly. When will we be able to notice the difference between our traditions / conclusions … even if we are RIGHT … none of that stuff saves us. We have John 3:16phobia. How many preachers in the COC can preach John 3:16 without an addendum or caveat … as if Jesus didn’t know about baptism yet. People of faith will obey as they learn their way. We can be so intent on not being a denomination that we have segregated ourselves from every other group of believers, thus becoming a denomination. You ask some key questions. It is not WHAT we know, but WHO we know. HE will direct our paths … and we must be focused on Him. He will show us the way. Great post … and yes, I love the COC … because Jesus loves all people…perfect and imperfect. And I’ve yet to see a perfect church…of any sect.

  12. nancy says:

    hope you don’t mind but i just wanna say

    I LOVE JESUS!

    WOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!

  13. dannydodd says:

    Tim, I would love to join you guys! I greatly enjoy Zoe, but alas my October calendar will not allow me.

    JD, always the provocatuer. John 3:16phobia huh? I think you are right.

    And Nancy, I definitly do not mind! I love Jesus too!

  14. Steve says:

    I heard Max Lucado do a presentation on 3:16 at AACC a week or so ago and it was spot on. You can find more about his plan for introducing a new generation to John 3:16 here:

    http://maxlucado.com/316/

    I struggled for a number of years with the “what other people think and my own performance” approach to God and religion. In those dark days I found The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee. This wonderful book delivers solid Bible truth to move one beyond the human need to please others and trust in human performance to living in the love and grace of God. I recommend it to anyone who is struggling mightily with a legalistic approach to God or who has been beaten down by those who insist on having them live in guilt and shame.

    Peace.

    Peace.

  15. Royce says:

    There is no question that much of what the coc folks have fought over for decades was never an issue with 1st century believers. There is not a hint of any disagreement about music in the church, no desagreement about water baptism, nothing about what can or can not be done in the “building” on Sunday morning.

    In fact, except for some oral (verbal) teaching, they did not have the New Testament books to squabble over. They did have faith in Jesus and were sure they were saved and would one day be with Christ again.

    Grace to you,
    Royce Ogle

  16. Christian says:

    Good Day 🙂 God is Love, May you experience God’s Love this Day, may we really learn to Praise him in all things 🙂

  17. Steve,
    I heard Max Lucado at AACC, too. I really liked what he had to say. One thing kind of bothered me…I guess it’s my C of C upbringing…I didn’t like that he mentioned baptism in one scripture (Mark 16) but then just passed it on by and gave the example of praying the “sinners” prayer with his dying uncle. Of course we don’t know if his uncle had been baptized and evidently, his uncle was very sick according to his story and taking him to be baptized may not have been possible, so who am I to judge? Thank God, I am NOT the judge…HE IS and I am so very grateful for his mercy and grace!

    I also enjoyed John Eldridge, Larry Crabb, and Dan Allender.

  18. Danny, I get your point and I agree with it. BUT, you are still forcing a dichotomy here. One does not have to be trusting in doctrine to be concerned about it.

  19. benoverby says:

    Doctrine is important. But for me the fundamental question has to do with “who’s in.” That is, what’s distinctive about the children of God. For Paul, the answer was simple. Faith expressed in baptism (and, no, not a “church of Christ” only baptism). All such people are our brothers and sisters, which means the kingdom is lots bigger than what some want to think. You don’t have to sing like me, or eat the Lord’s Supper on my schedule, or hide your women in the closet during worship in order to be the “true” church.

    Our failure to get this is at the core of what’s driven me to resign as a minister in the Churches of Christ. I’ve fought this battle too many times, for too long. There are concerns about morals (as per 1 Co. 5, Co. 3, Ga. 5, etc.) that can’t be ignored. But we’ve split hairs over doctrinal issues that ought to be family squabbles not the basis for excluding from the family those who differ.

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