Right thought, right action ... or Both?

"When contrary doctrinal winds try to throw us off course, the ministry of the local church serves to focus us on what is important. The gospel. We are all in need of teaching, shepherding, and accountability to stay on track. By ourselves, we are too easily deceived and distracted from the thing in life that is of first importance." - A Respected Christian Leader

Doctrinal winds ... so when a man-made doctrine comes along that is different than the man-made doctrine your church perscribes to and has stamped as 'ultimate truth'? Perhaps a more appropriate way of testing ideas is how they stand up to the 10 commandments, or how they stand up to what the bible says about caring for the poor, opressed and needy. I think that false doctrine is any doctrine that would pit us against the work of God - doctrine that makes us lazy, innefective people who give in to the systems of injustice that Jesus explicitly frees us from.

People need to be solid and growing in their understanding of God, but we also need to be flextible and try to understand varying viewpoints. This may not be appropriate for all people, as many people simply want to be told what to believe. But pastors must look seriously and seriously test all beliefs with every discipline they can, holding everything together with focused study of the bible.

What we need to avoid is this: "Any ideas I, or my pastor(s), think are weird are actually bad". This attitude will encourage people to blindly follow the teaching of the local church. But according to some well meaning, influential leaders, as long as the local church is focusing on the gospel, everything is cool.

So Emergent types, who understand the gospel as a tranformative work of God through Christ which begins in this life, transforming our lives, the lives of others through our transformation and the world around us from the inside out ... are misguided people; wolves in sheep's clothing who have no place in the kingdom of God if they continue on their heretical path of un-orthodoxy. People who hold to the timeless truths of orthodox faith are the true heirs of the kingdom, because they believe what is right.

I want to contend that believing what is right is a mere fraction of the reality of what it means to be a Christ-follower. One can believe that the bible is foundationally true in all aspects and all contexts, but if this belief leads a person to murder abortion doctors, support unjustifiable wars in the middle east, and opress the poor through unabated consumerism or local policy at the governmental level, then I would say that the beliefs of that person are functionally useless, because they are making that person into a hypocrite. As an example, one cannot follow Christ as Lord and willingly opress another person at the same time.

Actions and thoughts interplay off of one another - actions coming from pure throughts will also (theoretically) be pure, but thoughts can also be the result of actions. For example, when one decides to quit smoking, one must act against the thoughts they have about smoking (and against the cravings etc). But as one continues to act in this fashion, their thoughts will eventually change to align with their actions until they no longer even think about smoking.


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