by Theological Commission
Occasionally we want to remind our readers of valuable resources from the past which the Commission for Theological Integrity has published and made available to our movement. Among these resources is past editions of Integrity: A Journal of Christian Thought. These are available to read and download on the Commission blog. For this “Throw-Back Tuesday,” we want to feature the conclusion to a Integrity article published by Brother Leroy Forlines in 2003. The title is “A Plea for an Unabridged Christianity.” By this, he means the attempt of some to intentionally abridge the full scope of Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy. In this article Forlines provides what he believes are some of the historical antecedents to this development, and what specific Christian teachings have been deemphasized in 20th and early 21st-century Christianity. In his concluding remarks, he writes:
“I think it is important for us to have peace and unity in our churches. But I think resorting to an abridged Christianity is the wrong way to achieve this unity. It is incumbent upon us to develop a complete and comprehensive Christian worldview. All truth is important. Human beings are designed with a need for a comprehensive worldview.
Our challenge is great. We must take our responsibility seriously. Every human being is made in the image of God. He or she is made for a positive relationship with God. For that one who is away from God, there is an emptiness that only God can fill. Even in the most hardened person and in the one in the greatest darkness there is a longing for something that they may not be able to identify. But we know what it is. There is something within that longs for a right relationship with God. It is our responsibility under God to learn how, with the help of God, to reach these people and when we do reach them to give them the whole counsel of God.
Christianity is comprehensive. It touches all the bases. It speaks to the whole of life and thought. We must not settle for an abridged or truncated view of Christianity.
I have touched on a few ways that Christianity has been abridged. I encourage you to review what I have said and make your own observations about how Christianity has been truncated. Make your commitment to help us move toward unabridged Christianity.
I believe that to reclaim our goal, if we ever had it, of moving toward unabridged Christianity is of utmost importance. I see very little hope for the tragic situation that we see ourselves in today if we do not make a move in this direction. I have great hope for the future if we will repent and move in the direction of unabridged Christianity. Yes, I said, “Repent.” We need to make a deliberate and conscious choice to commit ourselves to cultivate a new mindset.
When a person calls for forthright preaching on sin, guilty, judgment, hell, the need of atonement, and the need for repentance we become afraid that extremism is headed our way. There is very little danger of extremism or a bull-in the-China-shop approach among those who are committed to declaring the whole counsel of God and working toward unabridged Christianity. The person who appreciates and makes use of the whole keyboard on the piano will not be given to a monotonous repetition of a few notes.”
Readers can read the rest of the piece by clicking here.
Thanks for offering this synopsis of one of my all-time favorite essays. I highly recommend reading the full essay to anyone who has yet to do so.
I would like to echo Phillip’s appreciation for highlighting this article. The thoughts in this article were some that helped direct me toward a series in the book of Romans. After seeing it posted online, I got my copy off the shelf and read it again. Thanks fwbtheology.com for bringing this important article to the forefront, again.