Category Archives: Evangelicals

The art of Christian dialogue about theology

I’ve been thinking about how we Christians talk to, at, and about each other’s theological positions. There are two poles that we tend to be attracted to. On one side we may lean toward criticalness. The plus of this pole is that details matter. We look at the details in great depth and we run with others’ positions to their possible conclusions. The downside to this polarity is that we are inclined to read associations and ideas in their worst possible light, worst possible conclusion. We describe others in ways that they would not recognize. Further, we make divisions where there may not be any. Finally, this polarity usually elevates debate and hinders real listening and dialogue.

The other polarity is apathy. This polarity attracts folks who think theological discussion isn’t all that important. On the plus side, folks over here tend to be pragmatic, relationship oriented, application oriented, etc. However, sloppy thinking and unwillingness to own the logical conclusions of a position are a downside. On this pole, some may elevate questions over answers and decisions. This leaves some really hanging and their faith threatened.

Notice that both poles encourage pride. 

Whenever you describe two poles, many will comment that they are either on both sides at the same time or they choose a completely different pole. Fair enough. Also, when a writer presents two bad poles, the obvious answer is always in the middle, right? No, not always.

But what should Christian dialogue about theology look like? That is the big question in seminaries, churches and other christian organizations. So, maybe we should first talk about some parameters.

1. Do I have the right to be picking the speck out of my brother or sister’s eye if I have significant problem with my own fruit of the spirit? (especially peace and patience) 
2. Do I give the best possible reading to the other’s position? Do I list multiple possible logical conclusions as there may be more than one (or do I just list the worst?)?
3. Do I love this person, even if they are wrong? Do I seek them out privately to dialogue (true dialogue!)?
4. Do I ask them to answer questions that I won’t answer myself? Do I demand black/white answers when I allow my own to have nuances?
5. Am I looking for proof of what I already believe rather than looking for true dialogue and growth on both sides?
6. Am I wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove?
7. Do I engage in guilt by association?
8. When someone is off-base, do I show gentleness in my teaching? Humility? Desire to restore? Recognition that, “there but for grace go I”?


Filed under Christian Apologetics, conflicts, Doctrine/Theology, Evangelicals

On-line missional theology course about to begin…

oHere’s a ad I got from our VP for student advancement asking if I would post a note here. Since they pay my salary and since Todd Mangum, the teacher, is fabulous I’m happy to do so. If interested in learning more about missional theology, consider…

Your First Course at Biblical Seminary Could Be The Course That Gives “Feet” to Theology:

Missional Theology 1

Instructor: Biblical’s own Dr. Todd Mangum (

This link will take you to the syllabus:

Or see our website ( and click on “equip”

Limited cyber-seating. Register Today:  800-235-4021 Ext 106

Q: Can I use this course in my program at another seminary?

A: Very likely…please contact us for more information

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Filed under church and culture, cultural apologetics, Doctrine/Theology, Evangelicals, missional, Missional Church

Seminary training encourages arrogance and an apology

Over the years, I have learned that the best form of teaching is through mistakes. I just don’t like (a) learning that way, (b) don’t like teaching from my mistakes. But that is just what I did this week. Continue reading


Filed under Evangelicals, teaching counseling

What does Ted Haggard really think?

As most have probably seen, Rev. Haggard is in the news again. For fun, go type his name into the news section of You’ll find all sorts of news stories and satire. And of course everyone is picking up on the claim made that he is completely heterosexual, that his prior behaviors were only acting out and not evidence that he was gay–something he discovered during an intensive 3 week psychological treatment. Continue reading


Filed under Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, Evangelicals, News and politics

Do you qualify as an evangelical?

Barna research group sends me teasers of their latest research. They recently did a survey to see who qualifies as an evangelical. According to their research, 38% of Americans (84 million) self-identify as evangelical Christians. However, this survey finds only 8% (17 million) actually meet their 9 point criteria of true evangelical faith, criteria apparently developed over the last 2 decades in concert with the NAE.

What are these criteria? Well, the teaser doesn’t give the exact verbiage of the questions but here’s the content areas in my words: Continue reading


Filed under church and culture, Evangelicals