Last week I made a quick post about our ESI program. I also mentioned that on our radio program we are doing a series about the fruit of the Spirit. I briefly mentioned how not all the aspects of the fruit will be needed in heaven and I specifically brought up patience. Along the lines of ESI, which is an interdenominational program that focuses in on the gospel; and the topic of patience which is an aspect of the fruit of the Spirit that I mentioned will not be needed in heaven; consequently, I couldn't help to think about some comments I heard recently. As humans we like to be correct. I think even within my marriage how if my wife and I disagree about something we will be quick to google search the answer to prove each other wrong. Pray for us!!!! But the comments I heard had to do with brothers and sisters in the faith. And I am seeing this so much more as of late within the church. I see lines being drawn in the sand and if you are on the opposite side of the one drawing the line you are dismissed as not even being Christian. How tragic! But we can take heart because like patience, this will be no more once we get to heaven. Because when we get to heaven we will all find that we were all wrong on certain things. There is no room for such pride in our lives.
You know how we think and how we act here on earth. "I am right and you are wrong!" That is a terrible attitude, yet it can and does creep into our hearts. I see it and deal with it. Now, I know there are certain things where there is NO ROOM for being wrong on. Such as justification by faith alone or the deity of Christ ect. We need to stand on those to the death. There are plenty of supposed "Christian" ministries and ministers that are very popular who do not hold to biblical teaching. And it is so sad that so many Christians won't speak out about certain churches and teachers for whatever reason. Maybe because they think they don't want to be divisive or whatever. Well there are things we need to be divisive over. And just because people use Christian sounding terms and language doesn't make them Christian. Do people even listen to the words that some of these people say? There are plenty of people we shouldn't listen to or associate with. There are essential beliefs that we must stand on. Those who don't hold those essential beliefs, not matter how Christian they might sound, we are to have no part with.
But there are other areas, such as eschatology, the coming of the Lord, for example that we have freedom in. While I may have my views on that, I will never say to any brother or sister in Christ, "You are wrong," because I could be wrong. I have seen way too much division over things that aren't worth dividing over. That is one of the great things about ESI. Here is the gospel, we agree on this. The main thing. Some side, peripheral issues, there can be freedom in that. There are things in which we need to be very careful on. But when we all get to heaven, at that point we will be right. All of us. Won't that be great. We are all sinners right now. We all are not 100% correct in our thinking (and it is so arrogant to think you are). But when we get to heaven, then we will all know what really is and there will be no arguing and no bickering no backbiting, no division, it will all be gone.
I don't want to be guilty of theological pride. I see too much of that. It is so arrogant and almost cultish to think you are 100% right in every view you hold. I have seen people break fellowship with others over non essential issues. We should never be so hung up in the non essentials that they become lines drawn in the sand. Someone says, "We shouldn't major in the minors and minor in the majors." In other words, why are so many of us making non essentials the standard for orthodoxy or fellowship? The comment mentioned to me recently was that a group of people were not even believers because of their view of election. You might disagree with another's position in regards to election, but to say that those who hold an opposite view that you hold aren't even Christian is a very condemning statement. In Bridges book, Respectable Sins, he deals with this issue. He writes this:
If your Calvinism or Arminianism or dispensationalism, or your view
concerning the end time, or your distain for all doctrinal beliefs causes
you to feel doctrinally superior to those who hold other views, then you
are probably guilty of the sin of doctrinal pride. I'm not suggesting that
we should not seek to know the truths of Scripture and develop doctrinal
convictions about what the Scriptures teach; I am saying that we should
hold our convictions in humility, realizing that many godly and
theologically capable people hold other convictions.
I have been blessed by ESI, Kep, Alistair and his team, and Pastor B who have helped develop in me the fact that as Christians we can have fellowship and learn and grow with others even if we have slightly different views on non essentials. As Augstine said, "In essentials unity, non essentials liberty, but in all things charity."
Soli Deo gloria