Greetings, I am Jamie Carter. I’m terrible with this sort of thing. How do you prepare answers for questions that nobody has asked yet? I suppose the crucial bit of information is what I believe. If I say my theology was informed by this denomination or that denomination, it gives you a frame of reference for my beliefs. My churches have been: Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ), Southern Baptist, Non-Denominational, and Methodist. I’m more Arminian and less Calvinistic, but I can’t say that I’m strictly one or the other because I’m still confused by both of them. I’ve tried looking into Reformed Theology / Systematic Theology and got lost before I got started – so I’m not well versed in that school of thought. I guess you could say that I’m leaving behind a conservative evangelical school of thought and aiming for a happy medium that’s more liberal in form and practice and less legalistic. Now the background is out of the way, here is the core of my beliefs:
1.) Greatest Commandment: (Matthew 22:36-40) Love God, love everyone else.
2.) Golden Rule: (Matthew 7:12) Treat others in the same way you would want to be treated.
3.) Good Samaritan: (Luke 10:25-37) Loving everyone else means being compassionate and showing mercy.
4.) ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ (Matthew 12:7) God prefers that we prioritize the welfare of people ahead of the dictates of the rules.
5.) ‘Not so with you.’ (Mark 10:41-45) We’re called to lay down our own authority, not exercise it over others. We ought to concern ourselves with helping others and not making decisions for others.
Because I place such a high priority on these things, it often puts me at odds with the rules. I already place people ahead of the rules, so I wouldn’t have a problem with women being in ministry as the equal of men in every way – serving as pastors, teaching anyone and everyone who will listen, and as members of the leadership helping to run church and make decisions.
I think that pretty much covers what I believe for now.
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Reading this does help with that “perspective” for which he might be searching, eh? You seem to be a pretty sharp cookie with a very soft heart (which could be a mixed metaphor, unless you’re as familiar with cookies as I am).
One thing I learned the hard way: denominations can create belief statements for you to sign, but it doesn’t mean that it’ll always resonate with you. When my last denomination said that anyone who didn’t agree with everything exactly as it was written was a heretic, I realized that they were condemning my Catholic friend to eternity in Hell. I decided that I was a heretic, too so that my friend wouldn’t be stuck in Hell alone.
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Wow. I don’t exactly know how to respond. It sounds like you’ve got years of poor teaching and bad examples of Christ woven into your psyche. A comment here and there is going to do little to change how you view Christianity, that’s for sure. However, I just hope you don’t eventually throw out Jesus along with the denominational bath water.
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I just decided that before denominations were, Jesus was, so I’d start with him as the way, the truth, and the life and where any denomination goes “Jesus and …” that I’d cross out the “and …” and just stick with Jesus.
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Just don’t cross out His people. That’s all I’m saying. But I’m happy to read you believe He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life! We could disagree on thousands of things, but that’s the most important one to get right. Praying for you 🙂
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Thanks! I appreciate the sentiment.
Jamie Carter replies “I realized that they were condemning my Catholic friend to eternity in Hell” but than Jamie you should not worry because all people will end up, like animals in the grave (sheol = hell), where there is no thinking, no handling, just nothing, but the being becoming dust.
Concerning denominations demanding to agree with everything exactly as it was written by them is impossible; In every denomination are different thoughts. In the Bible are also man things which are not clear for all human beings or may be interpreted by one or the other in a certain way, but who is going to decide that person is right?
The Word of the Bible, black on white we should take as the Truth and of those words we can be sure. It are those things that we should share in unity under the cornerstone Jesus Christ. We should leave the human dogma’s for what they are, just fancy human thinking and should concentrate on the Biblical sayings of which we can be sure. and that what is unclear let it be part of debate but not part of division, and come to see how it really is when Jesus returns.
If we are right your denomination Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ) would probalby not be the non-trinitarian Church of Christ, which is also a different one from the non-triniatrian Disciples of Christ, but having those names next to each other (one in brackets) we do think it is the trinitarian group, though when you say you are more Arminian. it could also well be that you were following the teachings of Jacobus Arminius, the Reformed theologian from our region (the Low countries) who just before his death thought at the University of Leiden (1603–09), and influenced the Baptists and Bible Students in the 16th century. Having been of that ‘trunk’ you probably came to understand that each individual is himself or herself responsible for the salvation which comes from God and not from any sacrifice we would make. God His son made the final sacrificial offering sot that no other offering is necessary.
Nice to notice you also came to see the importance of brotherly love (agapè) and that we are asked not to exercise our own authority over others, but to respect them in all matters.
Jamie thanks. You are a spiritual “mutt” like me. I was raised Pentecostal (of course Arminian), but have attended Presbyterian churches as well as Congregational, Foursquare, Vineyard and Swedish Covenant. I have avoided S. Baptist, too legalistic. Jesus was not a rules guy, so you’re in good company. I’ve come to believe if one’s theology hurts or degrades others, its time to examine one’s theology.
“4.) ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ (Matthew 12:7) God prefers that we prioritize the welfare of people ahead of the dictates of the rules”
This resonates deeply with me and expresses my sentiment on several matters very well. Thank you for putting in words what I knew but hadn’t been able to express.
I was raised in a Non-Denominational church (which was kind of a denomination of it’s own) by a DoC mom and a UMC/Baptist dad. I was strongly influenced by SBC and Nazarene doctrine growing up, and eventually in my late teens by Charismatic beliefs. I ended up in a Pentecostal group for years, left, and have attended a vast array of churches since. I tend toward Arminianism, too, though I appreciate a bit of reformed theology.
After talking to so many more conservative groups, I came away with the sense that God replaced the Old Covenant with the New Covenant that we had to obey in order to show our gratitude four our salvation – in essence replacing all the old commandments with new ones. I think that in doing that, the spirit was missed in favor of the letter.
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