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Of Strategies and Goals

As if it isn’t bad enough that we Christians many times cannot agree on what is essential and thus get carried away with arguments about minor details, we also sometimes have a problem distinguishing talking about a strategy from the actual goals. So we sometimes condemn brothers or sisters for disagreeing with the goals, when actually they simply differ on strategy.

Because I don’t knock on strangers’ doors in order to hand them gospel tracts, does this mean I don’t care about evangelism? To many people it means precisely that. If you don’t pursue their goals with their preferred strategy, you don’t actually believe in the goal.

Polycarp of The Church of Jesus Christ blog experienced just that when he wrote in opposition to the Manhattan Declaration.

Because he opposes a declaration that opposes abortion, he must therefore support abortion, right? Well, not so much. You’ll find, in fact, that there are many reasons one might opposed this particular declaration, other than disagreeing with its goals.

For my part I pretty much dislike declarations and such documents, few of which have any real impact. They just become another opportunity to impose litmus tests.

In the meantime, just remember that opposing a particular way of accomplishing a goal doesn’t mean that one thinks the goal undesirable.

Personally, I think that we Christians should consider the gospel the primary solution to moral problems. In fact, I think that when we go straight at moral problems with another strategy it’s as though we chose to try to crush a boulder with one of our bare hands whilst holding a jackhammer in the other.

The gospel is the jackhammer. And no, I don’t believe those who disagree with me are necessarily opposed to the gospel or to various moral goals.

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