Church rolls are diminishing as more and more people are choosing to not attend church. Young families with their growing children, long the life-blood of the local church, are not as eager as they once were to join a congregation. That leaves mainly the older generations of Boomers and their parents, if they are still alive.
Though the title suggests this type of “graying,” that is not the theme to which I refer.
In the early years of my walk with the Lord, I often heard, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” While that sounded like something we should practice, it usually meant ‘standing against something.’
It was necessary to ‘hold the line’ and ‘earnestly contend for the faith’ (Jude 3), because heresy could raise its ugly head at any given moment. “Movements” came and went, and each one was listed as heretical by those who had been around longer than the new movement.
Most of the denominations that exist today were at one time considered heretical. Of course, some folks still consider anything outside their accepted belief system as heresy.
Today, with social media providing a pulpit for every wannabe preacher, we often hear, “The Bible clearly says…” Usually, of course, it does. But then someone else comes along and points out the Bible clearly says something contrary to what was just a moment ago quite clear.
Does the Bible contradict itself? It would certainly seem so given the scenario above. This has gone on for years and has given rise to the gray church.
While not doubting the authority nor inspiration of the Scriptures, many are beginning to think that maybe the Bible does NOT clearly speak on every little thing people want to argue about.
Sincere Christians, devout believers, followers of Jesus are not so sure that the Bible clearly teaches (fill in the blank). However, you may not hear any of them openly say so.
In this day and age when society seems so anxious to be offended about something, it is not ‘safe’ to express one’s doubt in an open atmosphere.
To say, “I am re-thinking my views on the ______” will be met with strong opposition by those who have come to a hard-line stance, because “the Bible clearly says…” In some churches, this kind of thought could quickly lead to a pastor’s dismissal, and even a defrocking in the denomination.
One does not have to have arrived at a position—simply be questioning a position. Are there possible gray areas to this ______ issue?
Many may still hold that a particular belief or behavior is wrong, but they may not be so sure the Bible is completely clear on the subject. They may be able to understand why others hold a different view.
Not only do they understand the others’ position, they may also say that they could be right, thereby admitting the possibility of error on their own part. In other words, they may not be so sure that everything is clearly black or white. There might be room for some gray in our understanding.
Horrors! Say it ain’t so, Joe!
Today, it seems to be of utmost importance that one take a stand and take it firmly. And in that place, fight off all those who would think otherwise, because right belief is the only guarantee of heaven. We dare not support this gray area of uncertainty.
Ambiguity is now seen as the new heresy.
However, it may just be the place of great faith.