Thursday, 9 December 2010

Don't squint at one thing

Over the last few years, I have undergone some major changes in my theology. The biggest change I think was my embrace of paedobaptism... It's hard to put to words how big a change this has been... I can still remember the anger and confusion I felt when I discovered that there were Christians in the CU who believed it was right to baptise babies - aaaaaarrrgh! And then look at me now - not only am I happy to baptise babies but I think that my baptist friends who eschew this doctrine, are guilty of the sin of omission. I have in other words become a zealous evangelist for the paedobaptist position sometimes forgetting that I once batted for the other side and almost coming across like it's either my way or the highway. Which leads me nicely to G Campell Morgan whose birthday is today. He was (according to Wikipedia) an evangelist, preacher and a leading Bible scholar. Perhaps more familiar to us is that Morgan was the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London. One of the challenges Morgan faced during his ministry was how to keep Christian unity when the polarization between Liberals and Fundies was increasingly taking root. In the light of these divisions G Campell Morgan observed that

a phase of truth is not the whole of Truth. I do think that is important. I need not stay to stress it, but so many men I have known have squinted at one thing, and seen nothing else! There are some men who think that if you do not say something about the premillenial Coming every time you preach, you are unsound!

and then he gives this joke

A good brother, a Baptist, gave out his text one morning — “Adam, where art thou?” and then said, “There are three lines we shall follow. First, where Adam was; secondly, how he was to be got from where he was; thirdly and lastly, a few words about baptism” !

which leads him to conclude

Some of the worst heresies in the history of the Christian Church have been truth, distorted out of proper proportion and balance and relationship. I have striven, therefore, to remember that a phase of truth is not the whole truth.

And the moral of the story: don't squint at one thing. I reckon this is one of my biggest dangers as an Ordained Minister - haranguing the parishoners with one hobby horse after another. I need therefore to constantly remember that even though I've gleaned an apparently new truth in Scripture, I still ought to be humble, patient and charitable in my dealings with fellow Christians. Thanks for the rebuke G. Campbell Morgan.

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