Sharing a Common Theology...
The second component that I am asked about is the theological piece: "Where do you stand theologically? Do we all have to have the same theological positions?
Well, let us collage these questions with a few key family matrixes:
1. As with any family, there is always room for difference, dialogue and debate around the dining room table, but we remain family;
2. The father has strong convictions but does seek to empower his family to forage for their own convictions and not impose his opinions on the rest of the family;
3. One of our major cornerstones is to raise up and release many apostolic stories from this one, so we should live with some blurred edges as all will simply not agree on the minutia of every position [even great men like John Piper and Tim Keller do not, or Dudley Daniel and Terry Virgo do not…]
4. I do like John Tyson's phrase of "generous orthodoxy"… if I am accurate in my understanding of what he means by that;
5. We are all on a theological journey. As I sit here and type this, I do think with great fondness of all of you. Like me, you are still discovering the height, depth, width length of all theology. Right now, some of us are very weak in our pneumatology, others on their biblical eldership, others in turn in the grasp of the kingdom, others again in the confidence of eschatology, some also in their grasp of biblical apostolicity… To draw a line in the sand is to produce great and grave theological arrogance. This position that "I am right and have fully grasped all there is on this subject", is to be vulnerable to becoming the biggest resistors of the next move of God when he comes - history tells us this happens every time. The last wave of 'new revelation' teachers are often those who fight the next wave of 'true truth' [F Schaeffer] when it comes.
6. Theology is best processed with love and humility, together… listening closely to each other more than always wanting to convince others of our position.
7. But as you all know, I am a man of passionate conviction. However I do place a comma behind all of my theological positions, as I am still on a journey of revelation - which only the Spirit can walk me through fully.
8. We have to agree [Amos 3:3] on eternal matters, there is some wiggle room for other differences.
9. I had a great lunch with Andy Rodgers yesterday. He helped me understand some of the theological conversations that differ between the boomers and the mosaics / millennials… for examples, some boomers are still debating whether the gifts are for today while the Yi generation is not asking those questions. They are seeking to understand how they work in the body. Or Mark saying to me that this generation is less intrigued by the what and more captivated by the how…
10. I do think that the man made divisions are very unhelpful. As I wrote earlier, in different parts of the world, these words carry very favorable or unfavorable associations, so it is best to simply land in the text.
11. I am pretty sure there will be big theological conversations [Acts 15] in the future. We will be having these in the light of the practical outworking of our Mission together. These we will have with honor and respect, seeking to find the Father's heart and the Spirit's revelation.
12. Lastly, we do want to be open to whatever the Father has for us, by way of new revelation for the next wave of truth as it comes. The alternative is too costly to consider.
I am very passionate about:
i. A high view of Scripture and the Sovereignty of God
ii. A Trinitarian Foundation - all flows out of that,
iii. Gospel Centered - that is our message in all its fullness,
iii. Spirit led - this ongoing empowerment is impossible to live without,
iv. Kingdom advancement - already and the not yet, mobilizing every believer,
v. Healthy Families - the nuclear model of all God life
vi. Communities of Faith planted - to influence and impact their world through multiplication,
vii. Elder led Churches - in plurality, with captaincy, as fathers in the community,
viii.Discipling the Nations - is our mandate / mission within the mission of God,
ix. The E4 grace gifts - are vital to empowering each church and leader on their journey,
x. The Parousia - we anticipate his return