I am happy to see that the majority of Christians I know seem to think deeply about their faith. The reason I mention this is that there’s a lot of very loose thinking going on about Christian faith, and it seems to me that the majority of it comes from emotionalism.
Now don’t get me wrong, emotion is not only good in a Christian’s faith, it is essential. For example, we are called to have emotional responses to God (like delight, Psalm 37:4, and desire Psalm 73:25). Indee, there is something of emotion involved in love too, as we are called both to love God and love our neighbour.
The problem comes in when we assume that our emotions lead us to a correct understanding of God. Of course this is manifestly incorrect from a Biblical perspective, as we know that our hearts are generally in rebellion to God, and deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). I also do not think that the intellect fares any better, since the intellect also deceives (Romans 1).
The prevalence of error based on this is pretty clear, and has been shown in several discussions I’ve had with others over the last few weeks.
In one case, I had a discussion with a very nice person who also happened to believe that homosexuality is okay in the Church. Now, when he actually spoke of the divinity and glory of Jesus, I said AMEN, but this does not mean that I agree with him, or even think that he is not in greivous error, because I believe him to be placing the desires of his own heart above the commands of God. Do I even know if he will be in heaven? No. The Bible is rather clear that embracing sin is very dangerous (and a very good sign of not loving Jesus, after all, why inflict the hurt for sin on Jesus over and over again if you love Him?).
The second instance has been in a general conversation with some of my evangelical friends. In talking about denominations and the like, some of them expressed the opinion that there would be every different denomination and theological perspective in heaven. This was based on the way in which we all worship Jesus together and get community through that. Indeed, as we all love and worship Jesus, I agree that we will all be in heaven, but I don’t know that everyone IS worshipping and loving Jesus, as opposed to loving the spirit of community alone, or loving the music, or something similar. Indeed, you can appear to be very ardently loving the Lord, when your love is actually for the way others now see you, and thatis hypocracy, which is as sure a way to hell as the worst mass murderer.
I do not get to decide on who is in heaven, that is God’s decision, and so far from saying that “all theological perspectives” will be in heaven, God’s revelation in the Bible says that salvation is based on confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believing that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9). This is a theological perspective not held by everybody.
Indeed, many are circumspect about calling Jesus “lord” in any way other than an honorific. They do not mean their Lord, as they do not seek to obey Him, even as they do good works in his name. Who these people are, I don’t know, but Jesus promises that they exist (Matthew 7:23).
Others doubt that Jesus was raised from the dead, or believe that our salvation is based on our works rather than God’s mercy through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Again, the Bible is clear that such are not ideas for the kingdom of God (see Luke 18:9-14, nb. who goes home justified and why).
I agree that there is unity in Christ. Indeed, I believe that definitionally any who place their hope in Jesus are of the Church, independant of what denomination they are part of, but that hope must be in Jesus, not in anything else. We must not be deceived by our own hearts, and that is why we have the revelation of the Bible, with the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the communion of fellow believers, that we might become wise, over and above our own intellect and emotions.
We are not left orphaned, the Lord is with us, but we must be willing to follow Him, and His word. Else our thinking will remain futile.