I like to be personally preemptive in my own theology, making myself aware of the weaknesses of particular positions I hold. Some of the weaknesses are significant and some are relatively minor in my view. This helps me to keep perspective about why people disagree with my position. It also helps to disarm conversations so that productivity can happen in theological discourse (i.e. you are not just trading shots, one-upping each other). Without this, theological advancement rarely takes place. It simply turns into an exercise in trying to win an argument, and I am not interested in that. I hope my goal is to discover truth.
Therefore, I have put together a list of some of my positions along with what I perceive to be the biggest problems associated with them. I encourage others to do the same. It will give you quite a bit of legitimacy when you can admit your own weaknesses:
Sola Fide. I believe that justification is by faith alone, without the addition of any works whatsoever.
Biggest problem with this belief: There are many passages in the Scripture that are hard to reconcile with sola fide. The one that stands out the most in my opinion is Matt 25:22-46. Christ seems to indicate that the judgment will be on the basis of deeds that we have done or failed to do, not on faith alone.
Eternal security: I believe that once a person is saved, he or she cannot lose their salvation.
Biggest problem with this belief: Hands down, for me, the biggest problem does not arise from the infamous Hebrews passages (I actually think they are relatively easy to understand), but from Matthew 18:23-35. Christ seems to teach that the forgiven can have their penalty laid back on their shoulders due to their own non-forgiveness of others. This parallels the Lord’s Prayer which seems to make our forgiveness from God contingent upon our forgiveness of others (Matt. 6:12). “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespasses against us.”
Premillennialism: I believe that there will be a future thousand-year millennium where Christ will reign on the earth with believers then, following this, the creation of the new heavens and new earth.
Biggest problem with this belief: Easy. Isa. 60. Here Isaiah is definitely talking about the millennial reign of Christ before the creation of the new heavens and new earth. At least until verse 19 where for some reason, without transition or explanation, he jumps to the a description of the new earth (compare Rev 21:23, 22:5). Oh, and then there is Isaiah 65:17-19 which seems to be talking about the new heavens and new earth then, without transition or explanation, in verse 30 jumps to a description of the millennium? In reality, both of these seem to be describing the same event, not two separate events which my view demands.
Restrictivism: I believe that Christ is the only way to salvation and that believing the Gospel message is the only way to Christ. Therefore, hearing and believing the Gospel is the only way to salvation. All others are lost.
Biggest problem with this belief: I have a bit of a contradiction here as I also believe that children, infants, the unborn, and all others who are mentally unable will be saved even though they may not have ever heard and believed the Gospel. My beliefs here open the door for “Christian/Evangelical inclusivism” (i.e. the belief that God might save others through the blood of Christ even though they have never heard of him).
Sola Scriptura. I believe that the Scriptures alone are the final and only infallible source for truth in matters of faith and practice.
Biggest problem with this belief: It is not a Scriptural issue (as I think the Scripture pretty clearly supports this doctrine), but a practical one. It does seem that it would be more expedient and pragmatic if God would provide us with some type of living guide that is reliable in matters of interpretation. Practically speaking, it is very hard for Protestants to have a representative and authoritative theology since we don’t have an authoritative spokesperson. It would be nice to have an infallible guide to protect the truth.
There are more, but I wanted to keep this short. I might do a follow-up soon. As well, I could respond and show you how I attempt to overcome these difficulties, but that is not what this particular post is about.