Wednesday, December 8, 2010

when Christians disagree

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
Romans 14:19

It is bound to happen. Christians are going to have disagreements and differences of opinion. And we are not left to our own devices when it comes to dealing with them. The God Who brought us together in the church will help us get along despite these differences. But that does not mean that the church has always done so.

One of the inevitabilities of two millennia of history as that a lot of people have done a lot of things. In the case of church history there is a lot that we have done right. But there is a lot that we have done wrong. Many of the problems the church has encountered through the centuries have been the result of not obeying the scriptures when it comes to settling disputes among ourselves. That is why Romans 14 is such a vital chapter. It helps us understand that not every Christian is at the same personal place. And some believers are weaker or stronger than others. Grace should lead us to defer to one another.

The overarching principle from this powerful yet small verse is that a driving motivation should direct the way Christians interact with one another. We should pursue peace by words and actions that encourage and build up one another. Sadly, that is not the first response we are inclined to have. There are clear cases where doctrinal heresy cannot be tolerate. And deliberate immorality is also to be clearly dealt with. But in all other situations (which is most of what we encounter in learning to get along in the Body of Christ) we are called to pursue peace. It is the defining characteristic that God wants for His church.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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