Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dividing, or Not, Over Divisive Issues

It's inevitable that issues will arise over which two parties disagree. When this happens, I can think of only five possibilities to resolve the difference. For example, if half of your home church congregation believes hands should not be raised in the assembly, and the other half thinks it's a good thing, here are the five options:

1. One party persuades the other party of their position. For example, the hand-raising half convinces the non-hand-raising half that hand-raising in the assembly is Biblical (or vice-versa). Unity is retained.

2. One party submits to the other party, without being persuaded. For example, the hand-raising half continues believing it's a good thing, but refrains from raising hands in the assembly in order to remain in harmony with the non-hand-raising half. Unity is retained.

3. Both parties tolerate the disagreement without splitting up. Some raise their hands in the assembly, and some don't, recognizing that each servant is accountable to God, not to "me". Unity is retained.

4. The two parties split up for "irreconcilable differences", but amicably, retaining a "one-ness" in heart while not necessarily in mindset. A separate congregation is formed so that hands can be raised in one assembly but not the other, yet the two sister congregations otherwise retain full fellowship with one another. Unity is retained.

5. The two parties split up, and "divorce" one another, making the issue a "test of fellowship". Likely, at least one of the two halves declares the other "liberal" or "legalistic', and "apostate". Unity is lost.

"Unity" does not mean "uniformitarianism". A wife and a husband may disagree strongly with one issue or another, but that shouldn't break their basic unity. It's the same with Christian unity.

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