Before I write anything further about my concerns about false unity and its disdain for the importance of doctrine, I believe I need to tell you more about my almost 44 years as a Christian and my struggles to read and apply the Bible correctly.
Writing about my spiritual history challenges me for several reasons, though I don't count fear of embarrassing myself among them. I fear offending long-time friends who still adhere to Charismatic (or at least continuationist) beliefs. I fear alienating my liberal friends as well as loved ones who identify as Catholics. But mostly, I fear that I still don't fully understand everything I've gone through well enough to explain it neatly.
And maybe I can't make a messy past fall into orderly prose. The writer in me wants to construct an orderly narrative, appeasing the memory of my college English professor, Sister Nicholas. Sister Nick always insisted that a written piece have a beginning, a middle and an end. My attempts to understand my theological background resist her tidy format. Simply stated, it's messy.
Yet readers have called my stands against certain teachers and movements harsh. I agree. I have little patience with people and teachings that deviate from Scripture. Few people realize, however, that throughout my life I have struggled with various ideas, beliefs and influences that drew me away from doctrinal purity. The harshness I project comes from a hatred of false teaching.
In exposing my own failures in the next few posts, I hope to become more merciful toward people who embrace the various errors that I often address here. Perhaps I've forgotten how some of those errors seduced me, as well as how gently and patiently the Lord works (present tense, because I see areas I still need to sort out) to correct me. Therefore, I intend to disclose some of my folly, not as exhibition or catharsis, but in hopes of the Holy Spirit giving me a more merciful attitude. The narratives most likely will come out messily, but I pray they'll bring more order when I return to my topic of unity.