I know that the few times that I have written on the subject of orthodoxy, heterodoxy, and heresy, there have been those who think I am trying to create my own creed. In other words, I am my own Pope settling doctrinal matters based on my own conclusions. Is everything I write a sort of crass individualism? It’s not that easy.
While I can understand how a Roman Catholic may see me as another liberal Protestant because I don’t adhere to the Magisterium, and an Orthodox Christian may see me in a similar sense due to my lack of communion with their visible episcopate, and other Christians of various stripes may be irritated when I seem to take pieces of this and that creed without purchasing doctrinal systems whole-sale, there is something important to understand. As a child through my adolescent years into my college days there was adult after adult who had told me that I was part of the one, true church. These people were of the Oneness Pentecostal persuasion. Although I was told everything else was heretical at best, satanic at worst, there was no more than two to three years of my life where I tried to suck it up and adhere to the authoritative hierarchy above me.
If I would not have had a critical mind it is possible that I’d be in a Oneness Pentecostal fellowship today. I am not speaking against every Oneness Pentecostal when I say this, but I do think that, for the most part, their understanding of Christian doctrine is very misleading, sometimes downright oppressive, and in many “churches” simply cultic. I vowed to myself when I left this version of Christianity that I would never simply settle for a creed because of the threat of hell or heresy.
I do listen and I try to listen to as many Christians as possible. I consider the church my family, even those who may reject me in return. So do know that when I ask questions it is not driven so much by my misguided trust in my own intellect outside of the church and her traditions (I am not all that smart). Rather, if it helps you to understand me, imagine that I am one who like the man in Plato’s cave has come to see there is life outside the cave and any time someone says, “Chain yourself to this dogma to see reality” there will be paranoia on my part.