Why Must We Resort to Name Calling?

“Are you Arminian or Reformed?” The man’s question surprised me. He seemed sincere, and my answer was apparently important to him, but it perplexed me. Besides, I just met the guy.

“I don’t know.” And I didn’t care. I’m sure he thought me as evasive or dismissive or pagan or perhaps all three, but I was just being honest. Knowing the answer never merited my time.

He tried again. “What’s tulip mean?”

Oh, I’ve heard this one. “Um, it’s an acronym…” If I knew the answer, he’d label me Reformed. If I didn’t, would that make me Arminian? “…but I don’t remember what it stands for.” Again, honesty prevailed.

Snorting, he tipped his head back and rolled his eyes. He stared for a moment, shook his head, and then stomped off.

I’ve also had people try to pigeonhole me into one of the three main streams of Christianity: Mainline/liberal/traditional, evangelical/fundamental, or Pentecostal/charismatic. How about none of the above? While I identify with parts of all three groups, each has elements I decry.

Then there are those who align with certain preachers or theologians. I respect some, but that doesn’t cause me to follow them. (Consider 1 Corinthians 1:12). I disagree with others, but that doesn’t cause me to reject them. After all, I might be wrong.

For me, my theology comes from the Bible and my commitment is to Jesus. Nothing else matters, so stop calling me names.

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