April 17, 1975
As I told you the morning we ate breakfast together, I think I will soon be facing some trying situations – situations which test the foundation of my commitment to Jesus and Him alone. I just hope I have the courage not to back down – but I know that better men than I am have done just that in the face of partisan pressure. I would appreciate your help in encouraging me, whenever you see me “slipping” back into a “sectarian” mold or frame of reference. It is hard not to. I seem to always have this fear in the back of my mind – “But what if I’m wrong? What if I go all the way with this new direction, what then, if I find out I was wrong?” How do you deal with that nameless fear or dread that suddenly creeps up on you at night when all is quiet and you are alone with your thoughts and your God?
How do you present your case for non-sectarian Christianity? How do you make your points such that no one causes a stir – begins a controversy – over your teaching? These are questions I am grappling with now; at present it seems I can effectively lay a groundwork, building slowly, with the pure gospel, and yet I have some friends who think I am not going fast enough.
Yet, should I “spell it out” in “so many words” – what I believe the implications of my lessons are? That is, is it wiser to do it the way I have been, or is that a sign of weakness or cowardice? My friends are convinced that I need to press it more – immediately, and that is what they propose to do whenever possibilities arise. Is it dishonest or unethical to conceal or keep to oneself his beliefs in given situations? Can I have your thoughts on the matter? Am I acting from fear, or wisdom?
Just thinking: I have one sermon called “The Obligations, Responsibilities and Duties of the Christian,” in which I assail the thinking that thinks only in terms of “obligations, responsibilities and duties” in the kingdom; of how lifeless and unmotivating a life in Christ becomes when His love and grace are seen exclusively in terms of laws to comply with.
I’d better close now. Thanks for the note again. Take care.
Love in Christ,