Peter Moore on the Importance of How we Treat and Describe Other Christians

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[It is important that we do some]...thinking about how easy it is for us to differentiate ourselves from other Christian believers, and very subtly to consider our way of being Christian superior to theirs. It’s a sin I’m as guilty of sometimes as it is of those I accuse. But how sad! Part of the brokenness within the worldwide Christian movement is the way groups of believers will build up their own church or denomination by denigrating others. Of course, when there are basic theological differences at stake (as there frequently are), that’s a different thing.

But I recently came across an article by the distinguished rector of another downtown Charleston church in his Church’s magazine. He was arguing that his approach to the Bible was vastly different from others who take it more literally than he, and whom he dubbed “fundamentalists.”

Of course “fundamentalist” is a label that has long been a term of opprobrium. Ever since the Scopes Trial it has been an epithet flung by self-styled liberals at other more conservative believers thought to be naïve, literalistic, uneducated, or simplistic. In recent years, by association with extreme Muslims, the moniker has taken on an especially sinister cast.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* TheologyEcclesiologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Jim the Puritan wrote:

I am proud to be a Fundamentalist, as used in its correct Presbyterian meaning.  Gresham Machen rocks.

August 1, 8:49 pm | [comment link]
2. billtrianglenc wrote:

A long time ago, I realized that it was better to avoid referring to some more prominent denominations as “mainline”, because that term serves to elevate the status of some denominations and to infer that other denominations are in an inferior “league” as a “mainline” denomination. I prefer to use the term “older denomination” because I believe it’s more accurate in reflecting what differentiates some of the more prominent denominations in the public mind from denominations that are nearly always—relatively at least—newer than so-called “mainline” denominations.  Also, I think Christians of any denomination should resist any term which, in effect, tends, even in a subtle way, to “demote’ the status of any denomination that is basically not as prominent as another. Unfortunately, the usage of a term such as “mainline” serves to do exactly that.

August 2, 12:33 am | [comment link]
3. Jim the Puritan wrote:

#2—I think it depends where you are.  Around here, use of the term “mainline” to describe a church would probably be viewed more negatively than positively.

August 2, 1:16 am | [comment link]
4. Pb wrote:

In some places the mainline has become the sideline.

August 2, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
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