Several threads recently may remind us of how pivotal can be our understanding of scripture. It isn't simply our theory of inspiration and breadth of inerrancy. How we deal with authority, context, and even an understanding of intent of the human instrument all come into play. In the COTN, different people don't all have to have the same concept in those arenas.
If we all had the same personal context, including education - and what I will for a moment call "regional temperament" - we would likely find it easier to think alike. It isn't too awkward at the local level, or maybe even district level, because we can either "convince" others of our position, or help them understand that they don't "fit in." When instant communication literally around the world and across language barriers comes into play, we discover that we can't assume everyone else started from the same place we did. Even thought in one educational institution can change dramatically: the NTS days of Eugene Stowe differ significantly from those of Ron Benefiel, for example. The same may be said of NBC and most our universities.
The internet - including Naznet - becomes a caldron of widely differing understandings, assumptions, temperaments and levels of study. One person can't see why we can't take scripture at face value - and that person may mean a specific English translation. Another has discovered additional information - and maybe began the journey with different assumptions, and feels the first person is just being stubborn and irrational. I'm a little surprised we can have conversations at all. Maybe there's some grace at work somewhere.
My opinion is that the discussions are good, as long as we don't insist everyone else behave like any one of us, or dialogue only on our personal assumptions.
The Articles of Faith, and other points of agreement were not written originally as a biblical theology, or even a systematic theology. They were an experiential common ground centering on a number of holiness experiences. Frankly, in part because those experiences are not as common now as earlier, we are moving away from what brought us together, to a desire to see some other unifying theme - likely a more biblical (how can it be not systematic, too?) theology. Maybe it's something else. Yet there is also a continuing desire for inclusiveness.
Contrary to what some of our spouses may think, (!!!) this really isn't idle chit-chat. It is a conversation like we've never had before. Even delegates to GA don't take into consideration such wide positions. May the Lord give us a spirit of respect and mutual appreciation. It might be that all of us are right --- or wrong. Surely we want a right spirit among us: make that a right Spirit among us.