I have friends who believe in baptizing infants. We remain friends even though we both believe that (a) getting baptism right is important and that (b) the other guy is just plain wrong. Though we disagree about a matter that is weighty to both of us, we get along just fine.
Of course, there are some things my friends’ churches and my own would not be able to do together. There are also things our churches could do together, if there was much to gain by doing them together. Nonetheless, we get along just fine.
Apparently it’s possible to hold firmly to a set of convictions, live them faithfully, and teach them emphatically, yet simultaneously stay on respectful, friendly terms with Christians who reject those same convictions.
So why can’t the fundamentalism-and-culture disagreements work that way?
Well, they can. It does happen.
Just as I have friends who baptize infants, I also have friends who use music in worship that I could never use in good conscience. They do other culture-oriented things I don’t think are right either. Each of us knows where the other stands and, to some degree, why. We don’t back down, but we get along fine. If we wanted to, I think we could even have a healthy debate about these matters. So why is the interaction on culture questions usually so unlike that?
One reason is that a healthy debate begins with a certain state of mind and heart. Clues about that state of heart are evident in the peaceful relationships between paedo- and credo-baptists, and evident also among believers who differ on culture, yet get along. read more