Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Often differences of theology and thought can be expressed in a shrill manner. This becomes even more acute as we engage in cultural discussion and debate.
As we engage in these discussions I like the expression “convictional kindness.” Being kind does not mean we do not have convictions; having convictions does not mean we cannot be kind. As believers keeping in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and evidencing the graces of Christ (2 Pet. 3:18) we must/will be both kind and with conviction.
Millard Erickson has written a helpful covenant regarding “convictional civility” as one engages in this discussion/debate with another (“Toward Convictional Civility,” in Convictional Civility: Engaging the Culture in the 21st Century, ed. C. Ben Mitchell, Carla D. Sanderson and Gregory A. Thornbury [Nashville: B & H, 2015], 33).
Although I like the word kindness better than civility, since it is a fruit of the Spirit, I appreciate greatly Erickson’s covenant.
Some questions for thought: