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Differing opinions, united in Christ
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Dear Editor: I am writing in response to the Rev. John Pearrell's column Friday, May 22, 2009, titled "No such thing as a liberal Christian." I am grateful for Mr. Pearrell's faith and the opportunity my colleague and Christian brother has to present his views in our local paper, even if I might disagree with some of his views at times.

Mr. Pearrell cites Notre Dame's recent invitation to President Obama to speak at graduation, pointing to "the discrepancy we have allowed to develop in this country between faith and practice" and making the assertion that there can be no such thing as "liberal Christianity." I hope we in this country always allow for differing ways people of all faiths and no faith seek to live their beliefs, as long as these things do not infringe on the rights of others. Where infringements are believed to occur, I am sure will continue to be sources of disagreement. In regard to "liberal Christianity," I am not sure exactly what Mr. Pearrell means, but I get the impression I might qualify under some of his criteria. Actually, J. Gresham Machen, whom Mr. Pearrell quotes, was not referring to what most people today would think of as liberal. He was referring to the dispute between Scriptural inerrancy and Biblical criticism, a rather recent debate in the history of Christianity.

Our church, and in fact our denomination, is one that respects differences of opinions, much as we perceive was true of the early Church. Thus, we have the reason for four gospels and leaders like Martin Luther, who did not appreciate the inclusion of the Book of James in Holy Scripture. As the Apostle Paul said, "We see through a glass dimly"- meaning all of us see dimly.

In our congregation we have varying opinions, even on matters regarding the taking of life, including not only abortion, but stem cell research, war, capital punishment and issues related to the end of life. Often we are very passionate about our views, but we are united in the central belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We see in one another the grace and love of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit, which move us to reach out to our neighbors and to engage in mission in our community and the world.