Whatever it is you believe, you need to lean into with everything you have.
If your beliefs aren’t worth being questioned, they aren’t worth being believed.
The first sentence is intellectual integrity and the second is intellectual honesty.
How many Christians say they believe in God but don’t live like it? That is lacking integrity. Many surveys have been done that show Christians act and live just like non-Christians.
You need to put your beliefs through the ringer. Ask yourself what you believe, why you believe it and then assess your life in light of what you believe and see if you are living accordingly. If you aren’t living accordingly then I would question how firmly you actually believe what it is you say you believe.
One of the reasons we stink at evangelism is because we have an integrity issue – we aren’t living as we believe so we understand that people will spot the inconsistency AND we will not feel adequate talking to someone else about changing their lives when we haven’t changed ours.
Be a person of honesty and integrity. Then you will be able to lay your head on the pillow at night knowing you have done what you can do and leave the rest up to God.
While I don’t follow Matthew Bates or Scot McKnight in all things, but they have brought about some useful things…such as not only having faith in God, but physically living in God, which they call Allegiance. This simply goes back to the concept put forth in Deut.6 and Matt.22 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’”
Of course when many people read this this is an intellectual love, but in reality this is an all-in pedal-to-the metal, nose-to-the-grindstone love.
First, I know there is a fear of discussing actual beliefs or even opinions anywhere. It might result in gossip, losing one’s (chance to get a) position in church lay/(un)official leadership, or being ostracized in Sunday school. I think that there are also “good” Christians who have beliefs that vary based upon the situation. Some don’t want to rock the boat and so let the loudest mouth speak for all. It is no different when the preacher is hard-line on Sunday morning but moderate on Sunday night. Sometimes it is the elders who are moderate individually in person but hard liners as a group. It leads to accusations of hypocrisy and parents making lame excuses to their children who can see right through it.
When elders are elders, shepherds and overseers who know and fulfill their responsibility, there really is no need for a “preacher.” And when elders truly know their role, there is less of an opportunity for things to get “moderate” or “progressive” or whichever terms are currently fashionable.
Reducing the opportunity for things to get moderate is not a good situation. You seem to be advocating for people being officially condemned to hell (even for the sins of others), excluded, and the use of litmus tests for involvement in everything except attending and donating cash. None of these things were ever helpful IMHO.