Theological Ambiguity

If you swim in theological ambiguity: prepare yourself to drown in it. I hear the undertow is rough. It sweeps life out to die. The water can get muddy, and full of trash, it can pull you down and suffocate you. 

When it comes to theology: discuss the options- look at the pros and cons- look at Scripture, see if it has warrant. Make a choice. If you believe that hell is a conscious, eternal state of torment- say it. If you believe that God, whether now or through a system of purgatory, wins over all souls and empties hell- say it. But don’t dance around labels and definitions. You get dizzy spinning in circles after a while, and we get nauseous trying to keep up.

Call a spade a spade.

Call calvinism what it is, “calvinism,” or the “doctrines of grace.” If you believe in penal substitution or the Christus Victor view then just say it; or if you have found a way to use them to compliment one another then say that.

I understand many theological positions are complex and not so black and white. However, when someone asks if you affirm biblical inerrancy don’t answer, “Well, I believe this and not this but really it is inerrancy, but I prefer not to use that label because it makes me seem to narrow-minded……”

Stop it.


It doesn’t help ongoing theological discussion. Plus it makes you sound like a child that cannot make up his/her mind in choosing what candy bar they want.

Such dancing doesn’t produce helpful conservation for conservatives and moderates nor does it promote dialogue between conservatives and moderates. Examine. Reflect. Decide. Share.

If you really don’t know then say that. But be clear that you don’t know. Define your terms if need be. In theology, like in philosophy, there are times where we need to clearly lay out how we mean our words. There are times and contexts that even words like sin need to be clearly defined before the discussion can move forward.

This also doesn’t mean that you cannot change positions. You’re not “locked” in one position just because you were decisively clear about it. Many folks, after more study or listening to someone of a different position, change their views. Just be clear that you have.

The point is: clarity. This doesn’t mean simple. It means that though a theology has many moving parts, and is related to other theologies (ex: hamartiology [study of sin] is related to soteriology [study of the doctrine of salvation]), we are still able to follow what you are saying.

Anyway, don’t dance around in circles. You spin around like the water that is being flushed in the toilet. It just spins and sinks, and spins and sinks. Eventually, it disappears.


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