the weblog of Alan Knox

Listening to different voices among the church

Posted by on Jun 4, 2012 in blog links | 5 comments

Listening to different voices among the church

This last weekend was a whirlwind of activity – all good – but all tiring. So, last night, when we finally returned home, and I began perusing the latest posts in my Google Reader, I was excited to see one by Arthur at “The Voice of One Crying Out in Suburbia” called “Anabaptism is not the answer.”

Now, please don’t misunderstand the title of Arthur’s post. This is not a post trashing Anabaptists. In fact, Arthur says that he appreciates much about Anabaptists – as do I.

The point of the post is to point us outside the cloisters (inbreeding?) of our own pet traditions. In fact, in the post, Arthur writes more about the Reformed tradition than about the Anabaptist tradition.

As good as the rest of the post is, I especially liked the last paragraph:

The church would be a lot healthier if we would all look outside of our pet faith tradition and humbled ourselves to learn from those we might disagree with. One thing I have especially been blessed by over the last couple of years is exposure to authors and ideas that I would have recoiled from as not being “Reformed” a few years ago. As I have moved away from the idea that being “Reformed” is the pinnacle of the Christian experience, I have actually come to cherish the very real contributions of Reformed writers even more, in spite of their flaws.

So, if you are going to read, then read widely. Read books written by people from other faith traditions. And, don’t read them so that you can point out areas of disagreement. Read them to understand your brothers and sisters in Christ, and you just might find that you also begin to understand God better.


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  1. 6-4-2012

    A while ago, I asked God to help me recognize truth when I encountered it. Because if something is true, it’s true whether John Piper or Rob Bell or the Pope or Brittney Spears is the one who says it! All truth is God’s truth, yes? Since asking God to help me recognize truth where ever I encounter it, I often find truth popping up in the most unexpected places. I hope and pray that the church is at a point of being able to heal its divisions. God wants us to be united. It was Jesus’ prayer for us. I think that the more we open ourselves up to each other, the more we will know truth and the more we will be able heal the divisions among us. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 6-4-2012

    Read widely? Are you calling me fat?

  3. 6-4-2012


    Thank you for the comment, and thanks for sharing that with us. I love it when God reveals himself through unexpected ways. :)


    No, I wasn’t calling you fat. Are you confessing? ;)


  4. 6-5-2012

    “The church would be a lot healthier if we would all look outside of our pet faith tradition and humbled ourselves to learn from those we might disagree with.”
    This describes my journey of the last decade or so. Having been part of a range of traditions over my life including, for a few years Reformed Presbyterian, I enjoy finding out ‘what makes them tick’ in terms of approach to Scripture as well as emphases in preaching and worship. I have started blogging (under revisitingscripture) and am putting together a book. Yet in all this I have been struggling to identify the vague sense of discomfort I have been getting in some churches that emphasize the Holy Spirit.
    I recently got a used book ($0.75) called Protestant Biblical Interpretation by Bernard Ramm and was startled to have him put into words the discomfort I have been feeling:
    “It is almost instinctive…to grant a point in theology if a proof text is given….But there must be a sound exegetical examination of every text cited or else we are gulty of superficial treatment of Scripture.”
    There it is! They USE Scripture at times as support for views, especially OT passages. They believe there are hidden meanings embedded in Scripture waiting to be uncovered by those who are carefully listening to the Holy Spirit (to me those meanings often seem unrelated to the ‘literal’ meaning based on context, word meanings, culture, etc.)
    I could go on, but I agree we need to listen and carefully examine views outside our tradition, but being outside does not necessarily make them true or better. I think the best approach is to go with them down their path and see if there are twists and turns that dishonor Scripture…that is the place to turn around.

  5. 6-5-2012


    Thanks for sharing a wonderful example! I appreciate it very much.