I enjoyed chatting with Soren this morning. We had a wide-ranging, spirited discussion about topics of concern in the Restoration Movement. The role of women. Is baptism necessary for salvation? Are Standard Publishing, Orchard Group, and CDF forming a triumvirate that is planning to take over the world?
Northmen the first time. (I was right, by the way.) Over time I think we have both softened some - not necessarily in our doctrine, but certainly in our dogmatism.
The thing is, I think Mike is right. Baptism is necessary for salvation - at least as necessary as repentance, or confessing the name of Jesus Christ, or as believing in Jesus or persevering to the end. Then again, when I talk with - we would call them - "denominational friends," they're quite sure that they're right; all I have to do to be saved is believe.
The folks at Willow Creek Community Church have women elders; so do a handful of Christian Churches. Some would say that, while the Ephesus Christian Church didn't allow their women to "speak or have authority over a man" that the church in Rome went another direction and permitted women to lead. Lately, I lean a little more toward Rome; Soren leans more toward Ephesus.
Some people run from even a hint of conflict. When the theological claws come out, they hide under the bed with the other scaredy-cats. And that's okay. Conflict, especially the church variety, can be particularly virulent if unrestrained. A little bit now and then, though, is a good thing, I think. It reminds us that doctrine matters. It matters because God matters, God's Word matters, and how we respond to it matters.
So, in spite of our occasional friendly needling about the 5% of issues where we might differ, I thank God - not just for where we agree - but for the whole 100%.