Labels

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Herald, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. Herald

    Herald
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    Labels aren't inherently bad. If you consider yourself to be a Christian, then you have a label. American, Canadian, Mexican? Another label. I'm called a Calvinist because I believe the DoG; a doctrinal distinctive that Calvin wrote eloquently about. I'm not a Calvinist because I believe in Calvin. In fact I disagree with Calvin vehemently on baptism, ecclesiology, and civil government.

    Some Christians refuse to align themselves with a particular school of thought. They want to be called Christians, so as not to be pigeon holed into a "camp." I appreciate this opinion. However, I think some aversions to labels are an over reaction. Just because you agree with Arminius, Calvin, or Augustine on a doctrine doesn't mean you have to agree with them on everything they taught. The labels of Arminian and Calvinist may or may not accurately reflect your view on soteriology. But they're helpful in differentiating schools of thought. For instance, lets say you've moved to a new town. You're looking for a new church that teaches according to your theological conviction. If you believe in the DoG and read/hear that there's a Calvinist church in town, you'd probably put that church on your short list of places to visit. If you gravitate towards the free will position you may want to visit the church you passed by that had "Free Will Baptist" on the front yard sign.

    Labels become a problem when we feel compelled to conform to them, or they take an unhealthy prominence in our life. Cage stagers come to mind. These individuals may be new converts to a certain point of view and everything they see and talk about will revolve around a hobby horse. When I first became convinced of the DoG I was a cage stager. It was a miserable time for the people who knew and loved me. I drove a lot of people away in those early days. Thank God for instilling some hard driven humility into my thick skull.

    Don't fear labels. Just don't let them take center stage in your life.
     
  2. Rippon

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    I don't have to quote your entire post as is the annoying habit of some here. I will just say I agree completely with what you wrote. You are a welcome addition here on the BB Herald.
     
  3. seekingthetruth

    seekingthetruth
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    Your post is a prime example of how labels are too generalised. For instance, if I went to a new town, Calvinist churches would not be on my list of places to visit because i don't believe that the Atonement is limited to the elect, or that Grace is irresistable. But neither would I have a Free Will Baptist Church on my list because I believe in eternal security and Free Will Baptists don't. There are more than just two choices you know?

    When you label someone you are making the false assumption that you know their heart and their convictions. So you might want to be more careful and try to avoid that.

    John
     
  4. Iconoclast

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    In this post you prove how helpful labels can be.....because you mention a few you would avoid:thumbsup::laugh:

    If a person identifies themself as a lds.....i know what is coming...so I find it helpful
     
  5. Tom Butler

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    I never heard of the term "cage stager" before, but I think I was one. When I discovered DoG back in the early 1970s, I couldn't wait to talk about it with anybody who would listen. I'm sure some of my friends hated to see me coming.

    I'm not opposed to labels, either. All they are for shorthand which gives somebody a quick idea where one is coming from.

    If you tell me you're a dispensationalist, I immediately know a lot about your beliefs.

    And one more thing. Please don't insult anybody by telling them you're a "Biblicist." There is a smugness about that that is irritating, because it suggests that what he believes is not based on the Bible, but of course, yours is. We're all Biblicists
     
  6. seekingthetruth

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    I would say that when a church pretty much states their doctrine on their sign out front, like "Reformed" or "Free Will", that they have left no doubt as to who they are, and what you call a label, in this case, I would call a fact.

    When we label ourselves it is one thing, but when others label us without knowing our hearts or our doctines, they usually make a false assumption.

    John
     
  7. Rippon

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    No one labels another until they hear what a certain person's theological stance is. It's not a matter of reading someone's heart. What they declare by their words both spoken and written is a good gauge to determine their particular category.
     
  8. Iconoclast

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    A label is a starting place for discussion and understanding.
    If you say you are premillenial on endtimes.....I have a good idea what you believe....more or less....it saves time.
    John...it is not like we are writing a book about each other.
    At the end of the day the labels stand.
    Sheep, Goats, wheat, tares,believer, infidel, holy, profane
     
  9. Herald

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    Labels can be specific or they can be general. On a discussion board if you don't like the way you've been labeled you have the opportunity to correct it. The point is that labels aren't something to be feared. They may very well prove to be a great help.
     
  10. Jerome

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    "And since you would know by what name I would be distinguished from others; I tell you, I would be, and hope I am, A CHRISTIAN; and choose, if God should count me worthy, to be called a Christian, a Believer, or other such name which is approved by the Holy Ghost (Acts 11:26). And as for those factious titles of Anabaptists, Independents, Presbyterians, or the like, I conclude, that they came neither from Jerusalem, nor Antioch, but rather from hell and Babylon" —John Bunyan, Peaceable Principles and True
     
  11. mandym

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    The labels often do not correctly reflect someone's theology. Labels that are centered on men like Calvin or Arminius are unscriptural and are often used as pejoratives. There is nothing redeeming, edifying, or encouraging about them. Basically they are against the clear teaching of scripture and ought to be avoided. I believe some on this site just want to hold on to their pejoratives.


    And I have no problem quoting an entire post.
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    If you concluded that, then you'd be wrong 50% of the time.
     
  13. freeatlast

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    John this was intended for another thread in answering you but it was suddenly closed so here it is.

    I would not worry about labels or titles. What label would you put on me with my straddling the fence on certain issues like election and free will as I hold to both at the same time, or being hard nosed on others like there is no such thing as a Christian who practices sin (backslides) and that we all can keep the commandments and do not have to sin every day and should not be sinning every day?
    As long as you feel secure in what you hold based on scripture as you understand it and are not supporting a belief just because of a name, title, culture, association with someone, or pride, then hold to the belief no matter what someone else calls you or does not call you, but do it loosely so as to be able to change your belief without pain if God so shows you that you are in error.

    I get into some very serious debates with differing opinions. However even though I may respond dogmatically and strongly I am always listening to what the other person says, except with the few I have on ignore, with the understanding I might be wrong on a particular issue. There are some very educated and godly people here and I realize that I am not one of them so I do listen. As I listen I am always open to change my understanding IF I am convinced by scripture as long as it is not twisted or the person eisogetes it to support their view as some do.
     

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