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Commonplaces

Piquant excerpts lifted from Touchstone editors' own reading & listening.



When we [as a church body] "study" a question to which we already know the answer it does not help the church but wounds her. I am not saying we should not restate our position over against new challenges, but a study implies that we just might come to a different conclusion, that the question is a real question without a certain answer, and that there might be hope for those who disagree with tradition. This is not merely foolish but dangerous. It is a threat to the doctrinal unity and integrity of the church and, indeed, of the faith itself, to proceed with study after study as if there were no real answer or no abiding answer to the question. It is a deception designed to placate those who want change, but it will only alienate them and make it harder to convince them of the one and always answer. Sometimes "no" is the kinder word than "let's see"—children already know that, so why don't the adults who are in charge of the structures of the church? Finally, studies hang onto exceptions as evidence against the rule and [as] presumption for changing the rule when everyone already knows that exceptions make terrible rules. Exceptions are not analogies of how we might proceed, but real exceptions. We have had tons of them in Christian history and every time we presume to use those exceptions . . . we have ended up with chaos that had to be cleaned up by the next generation (hopefully it did not last any longer).

Larry A. Peters
Pastoral Meanderings blog post (June 1, 2019)


Christianity Commonplaces #21 Jan/Feb 2020

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