The space between absolutism and relativism
There is a false dichotomy out there about absolutism and relativism. Position (a) People who are very sure of most matters of doctrine and they believe that scripture clearly supports their view. Position (b) people who believe that truth is completely personal and by claiming you hold to absolute truth you engage in oppression. Most people are actually somewhere in the middle. The truth is much of the EC has moved to varying degrees from position a) towards position b). Many are still much closer to a than b. This is not relativism but humility. It is a recognition that if there are 100 different opinions on a particular theological opinion 99 of them have to be wrong, and chances are I’m not as right as I think I am.
Some humility is necessary. We worship an incomprehensible God, and when we experience God, we have different words, metaphors and analogies to describe it. It isn’t that we believe different things, it is just that it is difficult to convey that meaning consistently in human language. Our fallen nature, the bias of our culture, the circumstances of our present context and lots of other things all influence how we interpret truth. Once people start getting deeper in to the original languages and context of the scriptures it becomes clear that even our bible translators have to make a best guess on a lot of stuff.
This might sound “post-modern” but it really is just to correct the false assertions of modernity that infiltrated the church. Truth cannot be well understood by the individual interpreter. The Holy Spirit is not a rubber stamp that authorizes all of our individual interpretations. The Holy Spirit works through the community of believers to help establish contextualized interpretation and application of divine truth. I firmly believe that divine truth cannot not be truly understood unless you are Christ’s disciple.