Dear Christian Leaders,
I write to you because I am concerned about the future of the Church.
Many of you are godly men and women. But you are godly not because you accept particular doctrines as true; you are godly because you trust and obey Jesus. I understand that questioning certain "established" doctrines in the Protestant Church is about as welcome as Martin Luther questioning the established doctrines of the Catholic Church or Jesus questioning the Pharisees. Both the Pharisees and Catholic leaders thought they could not possibly be wrong because they had spent so much time studying the scriptures. But did Jesus teach that the way to understand him rightly was to study the scriptures or to trust and obey him?
A wise man once said, "Obedience is the opener of eyes." It's a mistake to think we can understand everything Jesus taught simply by studying the scriptures.
When we don't understand something, or we're not sure if we do, we should set our hearts on the things we do understand, instead of trying to understand the things we do not. We don't have to understand everything Jesus taught in order to begin to obey. Even a child understands, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
The more we set our hearts on seeking God's Kingdom and doing His will, the more godly we will become. The more Christlike we become, the more we will see things as Jesus sees them. If we obey Him, He will slowly reveal those things we do not yet understand. "Obedience is the opener of eyes."
Ever since Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, we've set our hearts on understanding instead of obeying. We seek to control, not to trust. Please be aware of the trap of thinking that simply by using the correct method of hermeneutics one can arrive at a correct understanding of all scripture. Some things are simply not meant to be understood that way.
One of the reasons I write these things is because I want to see those who claim to be followers of Jesus actually obeying Jesus. The world needs more love and kindness. With this I'm sure every sane person agrees.
But I also write these things because of the way some of you treat those you disagree with. Some of you have treated some very godly men and women shamefully. Why? Because you did not judge them by their obedience to Christ, you judged them by their adherence to your own doctrines. Some of you are so convinced that you are right and others are wrong that you think that anyone who agrees with you is agreeing with God, and anyone who is against what you teach is against God. Were not our minds corrupted by the fall? Is it possible that even after much study you could be wrong? No doubt some of those you claim are heretics actually are heretics, but that does not justify treating them unfairly.
Be careful that in your zeal you do not fall into the trap Calvin fell into (See "A Legacy of Fear and Persecution" in Thomas Talbott's book The Inescapable Love of God ).
I hope this letter has not fallen upon deaf ears.
A servant of Christ the King,