What is a Moderate Christian?

In some quarters, moderate is a dirty word, an implication that one is wishy-washy or has no convictions. In reality, it simply means one is not ideologically driven. How our society has managed to confuse conviction with ideology, I'll never understand.

Now I'm not a dead-center moderate. I do lean a little to the left both politically and theologically. Still, I could never be convinced that liberalism is the answer to all the world's problems. Honest dialogue and thoughtful discussion almost always yield better fruit than knee-jerk reaction. Granted, that means I sometimes don't form an opinion until I've heard a lot of discussion of the issue. But I'd rather admit I don't understand than take a firm stand that turns out to be wrong.

There are some who interpret this lack of dogmatic certainty as a belief that there are no absolutes -- a belief that everyone is entitled to their own truth. We're all right and nobody's ever wrong. In fact, I believe just the opposite: We're all wrong and nobody ever has all the truth. Applied personally, this belief can be humbling. I will never be completely right. I will always have a lot to learn. That in itself gives me a reason not to be dogmatic about my beliefs.

On the other hand, being moderate does not mean that I don't ever have strong opinions. Anyone who has read my blog for a while knows what I think about social injustice, for example. Or Bible literalism. After all, I'm not dogmatic about being uncertain.

Ultimately, the defining characteristic of moderates is the refusal to toe any ideological line. It's better to think for oneself than to blindly accept anyone else's ideas wholesale. Of that, I am absolutely certain.

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