Theological Pigeon-holers

Pigeon HouseYou see here a birdhouse with a bunch of holes that pigeons can enter to build their nests. Our current day is filled with those who like to quickly assign people to theological pigeon holes. Then they can neatly dismiss them as: Calvinists, Millenialists, Charismatics, Sabbatarians, Universalists, or where more focused on denominational divisions as Lutherans, Presbyterians, Catholics, Pentecostals, Baptists, Adventists, Nazarenes, Anglicans, Wesleyans, Congregationalists, Amish, Methodists, Mennonites, Episcopalians, and the list can go on and on with hundreds of variations, including one of their favorites: Fanatics.

Yet, very few people really know what foundationally differentiates the various positions. And even fewer consider that no one fits tightly into any one designation but are rather a combination of positions. The reason for pigeon-holing is counter to reason itself. It makes no sense other than it allows one to be comfortable within one’s own sphere of understanding; which, if you have a grasp of post-modernism, allows one to comfortably dwell in the reality of one’s own making.

Theological pigeon-holers consist of people skilled at avoiding issues. There are two main classes of pigeon-holers.

  1. The elite pigeon-holers are an arrogant, self-assured lot who constantly look for key words or phrases to quickly assign and lock someone into a pigeon hole. These pigeon-holers would prefer the more theological term of being hermeneutical experts.
  2. The vast majority of pigeon-holers are the purposefully blind sheep who are too lazy or indifferent to check things out for themselves. Instead they readily and willingly embrace the elite’s pigeon-hole conclusions. These lazy indifferent ones are those who seek the ear itchers. They don’t want to engage in theological dialogue but are totally content to continue in their current ways. They don’t want anything to upset their reality. The elite satisfy them because they permit them to dismiss others who are outside of their own little world.


You can identify pigeon-holers by their constant use of slogans or one-liners to describe a person or that person’s position. To pursue anything of depth is foreign to them.

Pigeon-holers throughout the centuries have been instrumental in destroying the interactive dialogue among Christians. This leads to stagnation and dull Christians who are not battle-hardened to meet the critical issues head on. Instead, they will keep up the pressure to maintain ignorance so that the possibility of developing a culture of exhortation is rendered an impossibility.

This leads the church and Christians vulnerable to settling for the traditions of church culture as their guide rather than the scriptures themselves. This cancer has critically spread and now permeates the organized churches of today. This renders those in these churches less and less able to defend the faith.

And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment
of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. Mark 7:9

By design, this has created a vacuum to which Satan has eagerly found ingenious ways to fill.

What do pigeon-holers need to do?

  1. Realize your actions could be causing a little one not to hear or engage in an issue brought upon by God. Thus you would be in danger of this: But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6
  2. Purposefully avoid slotting people into theological categories that end up destructive to dialogue. Recognize the fact that nobody fits any one hermeneutic perfectly.
  3. Patiently dialogue with people. Listen to them. Defend your own position with civility. Humbly realize that Satan could have blindsided you and someone’s exhortation from a Biblical position could enlighten you and help guide you back onto God’s perfect path.
  4. Humbly realize that most differences concern some wonderfully interesting topics but are not of eternal importance (death’s abode, The Rapture, The Millennium, etc.) and that true believers are in nearly complete accordance on the critical issues (salvation, holiness, sanctification, sin, etc.).


What can happen if you engage in these issues rather than dismissing them through pigeon-holing?

  1. This will compel you to study God’s word more diligently in order to clearly present your own position.
  2. This will force you to think about the issues and how to correctly apply God’s word in addressing any problem areas.
  3. The interaction might open up things you never saw before to where you begin to see a clearer picture or facet of the Truth.
  4. You have an opportunity to set an example for others to follow in helping to build the culture of both giving and receiving exhortation.

Ralph Wendt