12 June, 2021

Truth in Labeling

by | 9 June, 2015 | 0 comments

By Mark A. Taylor

If you”re buying fashion, you look for the right label. But when you”re relating to people in a polarized world, labels can be as damaging as they are discouraging.

06_Taylor_EDDY_JNI, for one, am tired of the expectation that I”ll believe and behave according to the label someone else places on me.

Must I, for example, echo the rhetoric of either the blue state or red state where I live?

Must I agree with every statement and every position of the presidential candidate I vote for?

Must I commit to either a conservative or liberal position in every Facebook update or 140-character tweet?

Must I choose a political or theological guru and agree with everything he says?

Must I, enjoying the perks of a white, suburban, middle-class neighborhood, be always suspect among poor, black urban dwellers?

Must I, born and bred in Christian churches and churches of Christ, be afraid to agree with a Catholic or fellowship with a Calvinist?

The writers of this articles posted this month all answer, “No.” Their point is that two people on opposite sides of an issue may find truth more complete by moving toward each other instead of stomping their feet from a predictable extreme.

We”re not saying that truth isn”t constant, that it can”t be found, that your truth and my truth may be different. We”re not advocating relativism.

But what should we choose when we hear two people acknowledge Jesus as Lord and his Word as authority while taking opposite positions? They both quote Scripture, but their views on strategy, tactics, politics, philosophy””or even sometimes theology””couldn”t be more different. We can hasten to call one of them right and the other wrong. Or we can ask ourselves if the best answer is somewhere between the opposing viewpoints.

This issue calls that spot the radical center: radical because we live in an age of confrontation, disagreement, and attack; radical because it seems so unusual. Politicians, talk show celebrities, and sometimes Christian leaders have kept their audience by attaching dismissive labels to those who disagree with them.

This month holds out a plea for humility, for gentle replies, and for thoughtful consideration about where Christians should stand on dozens of either-or continuums thrust at us by angry voices.

If we want to be radical, maybe we shouldn”t be extreme at all. Maybe we should pull others with us toward the center.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Articles


By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

CCLF Concluding Strong First Year in Greater Cincinnati

In its first full year, the Christian Church Leadership Foundation has accomplished much to ensure Christian education and resources would continue to be available to people in the Greater Cincinnati area.

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.

Welshimer’s Advice to a Bible College Student (Circa 1931)

“Plan your work, then work your plan. Go according to schedule so far as possible. Most people are as lazy as the circumstances will permit. If you will lay out a given amount of work to do each day, you will whip yourself into line to do it.”

Stadia, MOHI Partnering to Plant Churches, Reach Kids (Plus News Briefs)

Stadia Church Planting and Missions of Hope International have announced a partnership and goal of planting 100 churches, building 100 schools, and sponsoring 100,000 children by 2030. PLUS NEWS BRIEFS . . . including a free retreat for ministers at Great Lakes Christian College.

Follow Us