Recently, facilitated another round of what I call “the Heresy Game” at Toronto Generous Space. It’s another way of demonstrating that a community can have serious disagreement on a great many issues and still be united in the pursuit of knowing and loving Jesus well. For every statement, each participant would move to a spot on a matrix with two spectra: agree/disagree and important/not important. Sometimes, passionate conversation would ensue!
Before beginning the game, I talked a little bit about heresy in the ancient church. It was a label placed on those deemed to be false teachers by ancient post-apostolic Christian leadership. The problem with the label was not the concern for truthful teaching about Jesus, but rather the idea that Church officials could determine with 100% accuracy who was and was not a friend of Jesus. I believe strongly that Jesus is a big boy who chooses his own friends. Heresy in my life or anyone else’s does not, on principle, preclude salvation in Christ.
Because I was facilitating, I did not offer my own opinions. I thought I might do so now for a few of the questions on offer.
The Trinity: God exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I agree strongly, and this is very important. I think one of the strongest arguments for the Trinity (outside of Scripture) is the nature of love itself. There is a lover, a beloved, and a witness in most love relationships–including with ourselves. If God is all-sufficient within Godself, but also always Love itself, then it follows that there must be a community within the Godhead from eternity to eternity.
Jesus of Nazareth reveals completely and fully who God is. I agree strongly, and this is very important. I believe the New Testament teaches that Jesus demonstrates the character of God.We look at Jesus, and then we determine who the Father and the Holy Spirit are. Thus, the Father and the Holy Spirit have Christ-like character. Anything that does not align with the character of Jesus, even if it seems to be taught by Scripture, deserves to be challenged.
God loves us as God loves God. I agree strongly, and this is very important. God loves humanity in Christ the same way that God loves Christ himself. This is a quote from theologian Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.
Love your neighbour as yourself. I agree strongly, and find this very important, with one proviso–I must learn to love myself well, or I will not fulfill the intention of this commandment, stated in both the Gospels and the letters of Paul.
In coming days, I will also comment on the following:
- God sometimes asks people to commit genocide.
- God calls some Christians to be in armed combat roles.
- Use of pornography is immoral.
- When we come for Communion, we are somehow meeting with Jesus.