The Fine Print

Realism while focusing on what’s most important can help Christians, including pastors, to avoid a headache.

Credit: IStock Credit: IStock

by Terry M. Smith

Christian: I want to join your church.

EMC Minister: Great. Have you been baptized upon your faith in Jesus?

Christian: Twice. Mennonites by pouring and Baptists by immersion. Is a third time needed?

Minister: No double or triple dipping needed. Do you accept our Statement of Faith?

Christian: Do mean footwashing, pacifism, inerrancy (is that full or limited and how is that different from infallibility?), a vague creation account, the personality of Satan, eternal separation for the unrighteous?

Minister: Well, just the important stuff.

Christian: Important stuff? Why is the rest there, then?

Minister: Partly to define ourselves against Catholics, Orthodox, mainliners, and other evangelicals.

Christian: Really?

Minister: Well, suppose we ask, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, that the Bible is the Word of God, and that salvation is only through the Lord Jesus Christ”?

Christian: That’s fine.

Minister: Will you identify with us, participate with us, be accountable, learn with us, knowing that our Statement of Faith is our teaching standard?

Christian: Sure.

Minister: Then you can become a member. 

Christian: But I’m left handed.

Minister: What?

Christian: Gal. 2:9 says Paul was received by the “right hand of fellowship.” Is that to be taken literally?

terry-smith

Terry M. Smith

Minister: I think I have a headache.

Christian: Don’t worry. Pentecostals taught me how to lay on hands and Anglicans taught me the benefits of strong drink. Do you mind if I speak in tongues?

 

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