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Hi Doctor.  It’s Tom on Friday morning.  I want to thank you so very much for making the time in your life to sit down and write back to me about what I said in my previous email.   My own father is a  hardworking farmer in here in our state and could not even begin to ever understand or even really care about helping me find the answers to these questions that are so upsetting to me.   I appreciate your wisdom and your advice here more than you can ever know!  I especially appreciated your last few paragraphs and the advice that your Dad gave to you.

My mother and father-in-law are very, very hard-line in their theology.  They study and study and study constantly the Bible.  They tell me that we should basically concentrate on the things that Paul says from Acts and his letters.  The rest has a different “program” associated with it.  Jesus was preaching the “kingdom program”.  Paul brought a “new” message for us that had been a “mystery” up until then.

This is the other part of why I wrote to you about all of this.  They say that the reason I am so frustrated in putting all of this together is just because we cannot “mix” the two different messages together and get coherence.  (kingdom vs. grace).

They always send me to a particular website.  I have gone to this site and I can not see anything majorly wrong there either. – it’s just yet another system of thinking about theology!!

They have really beat us over the head so many times with all of it, that my wife has come to the point now where she can hardly stand to even talk about the different ways of looking at all of this.  They have told us many times that because we do not adhere to the way they interpret scripture that we are “not truth seekers.”  This has hurt us so much, because there’s nothing we want more than to be in the truth that God leads us into.  The whole family is born again and following after Christ, but beyond that, – it is getting just about impossible to fellowship with them concerning things of the Lord.

I know that your advice about “living above” the controversies is right.  But  how in the world do we DO it????????????GRRRR!!

I know that answering this letter will involve more of your time, but I surely would appreciate it.  I value your experience and opinion very much.  Tom