500 Words: What Conservatives Get Right, part Dos.
I will begin with this: I am a card-carrying “progressive” Christian, willing to entertain thoughts of blasphemy, open theism and socialism in conversation.
I also need to apologize for posting on a wednesday. I try to post these on tuesday mornings. Whoops.
What conservatives get right, part Dos.
1) They say what they mean (sometimes). Get baptized. Don’t have sex outside of marriage. Don’t get divorced. Tithe. Some progressive and liberal Christians waffle on these things because they don’t want to disassociate someone (which, honestly, some conservative churches do), after all, the bible says no sin is unforgivable, so lets extend forgiveness first! But something is missing if your public services don’t touch on these ideals. And the best conservative churches build relationships first, and then teach on these ideas, which softens the tone from “DO THIS” to “Let’s look at what the bible says about x”
2) Doctrine. Yes, it’s true that some churches care WAY too much about Doctrine, but I’d challenge you to think about the churches that care too little. Have a real opinion about the gray areas of the bible- Calvinism/Armenianism, How the end of the world is gonna happen, how do to baptism, how to do communion, etc. Don’t be a jerk about it, but if you are a practicing christian, or an orthodox christian church, you have the right to your opinion on these matters. These intensely devout christians care deeply on these things, to the point that they discuss them at length with any para-church or missions organization they partner with. It Matters.
3) Fruits of the Spirit. Strangely, I had never heard this point until I worked for that conservative evangelical church, but it makes total sense. They use the Fruits of the Spirit as a bit of a spiritual litmus test: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control. How much of those does your life demonstrate? Are they increasing? Over time, as you mature in your faith, they should become more evident. They don’t use this as a ‘entry exam’ or assign grades, or create a depth chart, but they do pay attention to these things.