When I think about having cordial disagreements in the church, I often focus on how I describe others. I rarely think about how I describe myself. Yet what I say about me and those that agree with me can speak volumes about how I view others.

For example, I was in an Internet discussion group where people would often ask, “Does anyone know a sound church in Smallville?” When I would press them for a definition of “sound church,” there would typically be no response. But the meaning was obvious: if you agree with me, you are sound. If you don’t, you are unsound.

When someone tells me that another person “still believes in the Bible,” I know that the two of them agree on certain doctrinal points. And that they assume their opponents no longer hold Scripture in high regard.

Sometimes people tell me they are speaking for gender justice. What they mean, of course, is their definition of what is just. Anyone who disagrees must be promoting injustice, right?

Others say that they favor the biblical view of manhood and womanhood. I’m sure they feel their opponents prefer an unbiblical view.

I’m the one who stands for truth. I’m the one who teaches what the Bible says. I’m viewing this matter as Jesus does. I stand for justice. I stand for equity. I stand for the theologically sound, intellectually fair, culturally relevant… well, you get the idea.

Here are a few reminders as we disagree with people:

Remember, a little humility can go a long way.

Keep at it, and you can join me on the side of truth. And justice. And faithfulness. And…

One Response

  1. Tim, you have hit the nail on the head! Our speech betrays us – in our inner feelings about those who differ with us. I told one elder that I thought my opinions are the very best in the world. He looked astonished at my lack of humility – until I added, “…because as soon as someone convinces me he has a better one, I adopt it.”

    I think we are all that way. Only some people are so stubborn they would not be convinced if Jesus himself talked with them about their opinions. At least that was true of many with whom he did talk when he was here.

    But honest people who love the Lord can read the Bible and reach different conclusions. Sometimes, they will never come to complete agreement on every point, while each of them still loves the Lord fervently.

    What are we to do when this happens? Keep loving one another anyway! We do not have to “split the church” over every difference of opinion. But, of course, I have truth and the Word of God on my side, and you just hold stubbornly to faulty opinions….

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