So for me my greatest fears have always seemed to revolve around a fear of failure. Not necessarily a fear that I won’t measure up to standards, nor that I would not do as well as I would like. Granted both of those can probably play a role in my specific fear, they simply are not where my mind goes when I think of my failure.
No, my fear is that I will fail in some way, shape or form to minister as effectively as I was created to. Which, I think, is a legitimate fear, because when I fail in ministry it is not I, though I indeed may suffer some sort of consequence(s), it is the one(s) I am ministering to that will feel it the most, or so I think.
This fear has arisen recently, like today, because of Candler. Candler doesn’t have a statement of faith, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing, I mean there can be a benefit. In fact it is one of the reasons that I chose to go here, because it doesn’t have a specific statement of faith its not in the indoctrination business of propounding said statement and showing the fallacies of other theological traditions. Instead it allows for one to pick and chose which theologies to adhere to and which to warn against by teaching the strengths and weaknesses of them all (Wesley, however, might be immune to this, but I can’t be too sure, at least not yet).
This is great for me! I mean this sounds exactly like what I myself have done and would like to continue to do; I guess I’m just the rebel who has to find his own way in his own manner.
However, as excited as I am for that, it scares me a bit too. There is a great strength in being taught a theological tradition because if something about your theology screws something up, well you can just blame the tradition and the Seminary that taught it to you! OK, not really… But if I am able to, by my own devices, figure out my own unique theological system, what happens if, in my unwise youth, I leave something out? What happens if, in my unwise youth, I take something wrong in? What could the be consequences twenty years down the road when I look back and come to realize, “Oh crap, I screwed up”? That scares me, because then, I feel like, my failures in ministry reflect on my failure to love God with all my heart, soul and mind, by believing and living out a lie and that I did so for hidden or disguised, but nonetheless sinful reasons.
However, what I must say is that, thus far, I have been quite “me” focused. It is not lost on me that, even though I could burn down cities, burn every bridges and leave bodies behind me bloody and beaten, God will have His glory and He, in fact, is still sovereign in that. Don’t ask me how (no really please don’t) because I wouldn’t have the slightest clue; in the same way, I don’t have the slightest clue about how other past terrible things come to glorify Him now. It’s not very Candler (well perhaps not) or Wesleyan of me, but I believe that even though I could screw up in a big way, God wanted it; He had, has and will have a purpose in it, and in the end only His glory will come of it and it will be for my good, because He has called me and I love Him. AMEN!
So I must say I am reassured and comforted by that, and I believe it. But still you gotta admit that would really bite if that happened….