9.5 Theses for 21st Century Christian Thinking

The 95 Theses: A reader's guide – The Lutheran Witness

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind a break from the craziness in the US surrounding political, social, and ethnic debates. There’s so many people using the same terms, but meaning different things. There’s so many folks talking past each other. There’s elements that are trying to foment unrest on all fronts. In the midst of this, I’ve been thinking. As a Christian, how should I think about these things? What questions should I be asking as someone whose only true allegiance is to King Jesus? As a believer, are there principles that I can keep in mind as I engage with others in loving dialogue or counsel?

So, below is my attempt. You might call them theses – short positional statements that help me think clearly in crazy times. I hope they help you. Also, whether you want to comment or email, I’d love to hear your thoughts, concerns, questions!

  1. Any solution that pits one group against another must be rejected. The Gospel tears down the dividing wall.
  2. Any solution that affirms EVERYTHING about any group or rejects EVERYTHING about another group must be rejected. The Gospel affirms what is good in every culture and condemns/judges the evil that is in every culture.
  3. Any solution that does not include the Gospel as THE solution must be rejected. Holiness can’t be legislated, not even in the Old Testament. Yes, let’s have holy, righteous laws, but only the Gospel, and the new birth it brings, transforms people.
  4. Any solution that primarily targets behavior, instead of the heart, must be rejected. As Christians, if someone is kind and respectful but unconverted and bound for hell, how can we be OK with that?
    • Similarly, any solution that dictates what generosity looks like. We can all agree that some in the early church sold everything they had to share, but we don’t see all churches, everywhere in the NT doing that. So, yes, call for generosity. And then leave it God and the individual to decide what that looks like. To mandate or even legislate this, I believe, would be sin.
  5. Any solution that doesn’t have the Church as the central player must be rejected. The halls of congress don’t have the message that can change hearts.
  6. Any solution that sees the use or distribution of power as the answer must be rejected. The greatest shall be servant of all. The last shall be first. Jesus emptied himself, and we are told to imitate Him.
  7. Any position that calls for undivided attention OR fullest commitment other than Christ must be rejected. That’s called idolatry. Besides Christ’s invitation, any other can be ignored if needed and/or good.
  8. Any position that requires “adherence or anathema” (support/believe/affirm/vote this or you’re not really a Christian) must be rejected (unless we’re talking about the actual Gospel). Those whom God foreknew, He justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies. He determines your salvation from start to finish…no one else has a say, and your advocacy for any policy or position doesn’t top-off what is lacking in the blood of Jesus.
  9. Similarly, any position that equates your commitment to it AS your commitment to Christ must be rejected. That is called syncretism – when the faith is polluted with elements form the world and actually becomes a false religion. When you add race or politics or anything else to the Gospel, you create a false gospel.

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