“In necessary things unity, in uncertain things liberty, in all things charity.” So said Peter Meiderlin, seventeenth century German Lutheran theologian, summing up what many orthodox Christians believe about the proper relationship between orthodoxy and tolerance. Indeed, Meiderlin got the balance between solidarity and plurality, with love as the rule in everything, that his pithy statement is the official motto of both the Moravian Church and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. It is also the only statement made by a Lutheran that I am aware of hanging in my Catholic community center, and with that, I feel pretty confident in suggesting that it is an attitude that is universally Christian.
Universal, at least, with the exception of quite a few progressive Christians. Indeed, they seem to have Meiderlin’s creed a bit mixed up, proclaiming that Christians need flexibility in (presumably) necessary things, like doctrine; rigid leftism in uncertain things; and relativism in all things political. Allow Peter Laarman to illustrate.
Laarman, executive director of Progressive Christians Uniting, recently proclaimed the dogma of theological flexibility, telling the stiff-necked dogmatists defending things like the idea of a personal God that “the defenders of the True Faith need to relax a little bit. There is really no danger of an ‘anything goes’ ethic emerging among those of us who long ago said goodbye to the creeds” in a piece entitled, “The Unbelieving Future of Christian Faith.” What does the future of this Christianity, free to join Pontius Pilate in asking What is truth?” look like?