Peter Moore on the Importance of How we Treat and Describe Other Christians

[It is important that we do some]…thinking about how easy it is for us to differentiate ourselves from other Christian believers, and very subtly to consider our way of being Christian superior to theirs. It’s a sin I’m as guilty of sometimes as it is of those I accuse. But how sad! Part of the brokenness within the worldwide Christian movement is the way groups of believers will build up their own church or denomination by denigrating others. Of course, when there are basic theological differences at stake (as there frequently are), that’s a different thing.

But I recently came across an article by the distinguished rector of another downtown Charleston church in his Church’s magazine. He was arguing that his approach to the Bible was vastly different from others who take it more literally than he, and whom he dubbed “fundamentalists.”

Of course “fundamentalist” is a label that has long been a term of opprobrium. Ever since the Scopes Trial it has been an epithet flung by self-styled liberals at other more conservative believers thought to be naïve, literalistic, uneducated, or simplistic. In recent years, by association with extreme Muslims, the moniker has taken on an especially sinister cast.

Read it all.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ecclesiology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

4 comments on “Peter Moore on the Importance of How we Treat and Describe Other Christians

  1. Jim the Puritan says:

    I am proud to be a Fundamentalist, as used in its correct Presbyterian meaning. Gresham Machen rocks.

  2. billtrianglenc says:

    A long time ago, I realized that it was better to avoid referring to some more prominent denominations as “mainline”, because that term serves to elevate the status of some denominations and to infer that other denominations are in an inferior “league” as a “mainline” denomination. I prefer to use the term “older denomination” because I believe it’s more accurate in reflecting what differentiates some of the more prominent denominations in the public mind from denominations that are nearly always–relatively at least–newer than so-called “mainline” denominations. Also, I think Christians of any denomination should resist any term which, in effect, tends, even in a subtle way, to “demote’ the status of any denomination that is basically not as prominent as another. Unfortunately, the usage of a term such as “mainline” serves to do exactly that.

  3. Jim the Puritan says:

    #2–I think it depends where you are. Around here, use of the term “mainline” to describe a church would probably be viewed more negatively than positively.

  4. Pb says:

    In some places the mainline has become the sideline.