If it seems good to you to offer an opinion, please feel free to be as candid as necessary (just be nice about it, OK?) :) Your comments would be very helpful to me before I hang it out there on the flag pole for the world to read (and shoot at). Paul
Aaah, come on, do I hafta be NICE? That's no fun!! :) Well, okay ... if you insist. hahaha!
I have been asked a number of times about having a doctrinal statement on my web site (or anywhere for that matter). I've been resistant to the idea, because I think that using these things as a test of genuine faith is misleading, Paul
Well, that about sums it up, bro! :) Here are some of my own thoughts on what you wrote there. (By the way, I did read your "BELIEFS" page and except for a few things it looks fine ... hahaha ... see how a statement of beliefs kinda begs for a challenge? For I'm sure you would love to know EXACTLY what I don't agree with, huh? :)
WHY do they ask for your statement when your writings are out there in plain view? I'm sure some want to know right up front whether or not you are a heretic so that they don't waste their time reading your stuff. Sounds reasonable. But the fact is that to most of them you ARE a heretic with teachings that are diametrically opposed to what their teachers are teaching them. So, what does a doctrinal statement do for them? Could it calm their fears by reassuring them that you hold to historic Christianity? Possibly. But doesn't it also perpetuate the myth that the doctrinal statement is in fact the principle means of testing genuine faith?
I also know that MANY want to figure you out so that they know how to categorize what you teach. In other words, there is a driving need to put each other in a box. If YOUR box is close enough to THEIR box then they will accept what you say to that degree. If not, they will cast you off without checking further. And you know as well as I do that these people will head immediately for your doctrinal statement page. The problem with creating the sense that YOUR box is not off the deep end is that you might just persuade them that it is safe to stay within the box. On the other hand, why make it easy for those who seek to discredit you? Let them find it for themselves. Who knows? Maybe the thing that sends them on their way will be the thing that follows them around for years and finally breaks through. So it has been in my own case. :)
but if it makes it easier for some to receive the message, then it is worth finding a compromise. Paul
THIS is really what it comes down to, as you have stated so well: Can it really make it easier? Or can it actually be counterproductive? How would you judge it? Appearances? How about responses that claim understanding based on what they read from your writings? I'm sure you have seen those who saw the light of grace through your message only to have them later denounce your heresy. I think we think too much of man's endorsement.
Well, there you have it. Was that nice enough? hahahaha!