How big is the circle of people you believe will enter heaven and that you can have Christian fellowship with? For some, the circle is quite small, the list of beliefs they think are crucial, quite LONG! Only people who believe things in exactly the same way they do belong in the circle.
6 day creation.
Moses wrote all the first five books of the Bible, even the passages where he dies.
Jesus is coming back–pre-tribulation, pre-millennial.
Inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God.
The list is very long for some people! The longer the list, the smaller the circle.
For some people, the list is very short indeed. Maybe they would say, Jesus is Lord. Maybe they would list something like:
God the Maker of Heaven and Earth
Jesus, Incarnate Deity
Resurrection of the Dead
The shorter the list, the larger the circle!
So how big is your circle?
Are Catholics allowed in your circle?
How about liberal mainline Protestants?
Are people who speak in tongues in your circle or not?
How about those who don’t believe the Bible is inspired in the same way you do?
What about those who drink beer?
How about those who belong to a different political party than you?
How about the pro-choice?
In or out?
Who fits in your vision of what it means to deserve the appellation, “Christian”?
I’m asking the question because it has everything to do with how we conceive of Christian community and who will fit in our group.
Will we become a community with a long list, excluding nearly everyone who does not believe exactly as we do? Will our list become shorter as we recognize there are only a few essentials that create common ground?
One of the basic functions of religion is to separate people. I get it. We need to have boundaries. How big will our circle be?