Don't Stop Believing!by Rev. Grant Gunnink on 09/15/11
What's more important, right beliefs or right actions? Its a bit of a false dilemma really, obviously both are very important - but the current trend these days is to minimize or dismiss the importance of having the right beliefs or correct beliefs about God, Christ, scripture etc... as long as we are helping the poor, fighting for justice and loving each other.
Because it seems that the alternative to this is that we would have correct beliefs about God, Christ, scripture, etc... but not help the poor, fight for justice or love each other. But that seems hypocritical and so the other scenario is preferable.
But in our current context, and especially within mainline churches like the PCC, I would be tempted to place "right beliefs" as more important, or at least being primary.
And it would be precisely because right beliefs don't always lead to right actions. What better way is there for each of us to come to the awareness that we are walking contradictions because of Sin, than to realize we don't always act, or want to act, according the "right beliefs" revealed to us in Scripture.
And its the awareness of Sin as a frustratingly real and pervasive aspect of our self which opens us up to receive God's solution for it - Jesus Christ.
I know its easy to try and dismiss it when someone says - hold on, that's not the correct way to think or the right belief about God, Christ, scripture, etc... and try to move on to more "important" matters of loving our neighbors through right actions of social justice.
It may sound more "spiritual" and come across as more noble and tolerant, however we end up missing out on the best way to understand who we really are, and to truly experience Christ's forgiveness and the Holy Spirit's transformation.
Its also the best way to ensure any "right actions" we do are motivated from the kind of gratitude that only comes from being a forgiven sinner. It also protects us against self-righteous - from believing that our focus on "right actions" makes us superior to those who quibble about uminportant matters such as what to believe!
Because that would really be hypocritical - and its why I find the primacy of "right beliefs" more appealing. So...don't stop believing!