The other day I asked, “Is it actually possible to have your opinions FORMED by your theology and beliefs, and come to different conclusions?” I think the fact that I’m even asking the question answers it. You could say yes or no. I’m going to stick with “yes” for this.
Within the Christian family, there are Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, people who like seafood, pop music and video games and those who don’t. The point isn’t that there are differences, but that differences of opinion does not necessarily equate to wrong beliefs and bad theology (as much as we might argue that it does).
When I make an argument against the recently passed healthcare bill or long-term welfare, it’s in part because of the Biblical principle of work. After all, didn’t Paul say “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” and “if someone doesn’t provide for their immediate family, they are worse than an unbeliever“? In other words, I see Scripture teaching that people should be responsible for themselves and not depend on the government to take care of them. That’s my opinion as FORMED by my theology.
And yet, others see not just the need, but a personal responsibility to provide healthcare and welfare because we’re called to love our neighbors. After all, didn’t Jesus say, “Sell your possessions, give to the poor and you’ll have treasure in Heaven” and John writes that we should love our brother and when we see him in need, provide for him? In other words, they often see Scripture as teaching that we have a responsibility to care for our fellow man when they cannot care for themselves. That’s their opinion as FORMED by their theology.
So who’s “right”? Is it possible that both are? Sure. Because the problem isn’t necessarily their theology, beliefs, understanding of Scripture or even their opinion, the problem is figuring out how it applies to others. Paul dealt with very same thing in Corinth where some believers thought they should or shouldn’t eat food sacrificed to idols. Paul didn’t say anyone was right or wrong as much as he said, “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” In other words, let your theology FORM your opinions and make sure your opinions honor God.
Go ahead, have opinions. Share them. Defend them. Work to convince others to share them even, but be very careful assuming that you’re the only one who can be “right” just because your thoughts are based on your theology. We should always go back and allow Scripture to “equip us for every good work“. In other words, let Scripture INFORM your theology before you FORM your opinions.