It is difficult at times to distinguish what we believe and accept from what scripture actually says. Because we believe them both we often assume that all we believe is part of scripture. That can apply to our view of politics as well as other areas of life.
This is not a new problem, but one which Christians struggled with in the days of the apostles. Often the background to this was Christians who were of a Jewish background and Christians who from a Gentile background. Because they were brought up Jews, many would restrict what they ate or would do certain things on certain days. The discussion as Paul presented it in Romans 14 centered around what people ate as well as what days they considered to be special. Continue reading “When Christians disagree”
“the word that I have spoken…the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48)
Standards ebb and flow from person to person. What one likes, what one feels, what one prefers, is rejected by another.
Individuals seek to find other individuals whose standards bear relative proximity to their own.
Groups coalesce. They march. They advocate. Continue reading “Imperfect standards”
“And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved'” (Acts 15:1 NKJV).
I recently had my computer to crash while outside the U.S. Though I had printed instructions as to how to possibly correct the problem, they were quite involved and technical and I did not feel qualified to attempt them, especially since I feared that an error might cause irreversible damage. So I took the computer and the instructions to several local technicians hoping to find one who either knew the procedure or could follow the instructions with confidence. Continue reading “Breaking out of the box”
Listening to how people speak, how they think and whether a word choice carries with it a positive or negative connotation can quickly suggest some impressions about doctrine. Recently a candid meeting confirmed my suspicions. Apparently some regard doctrine as a dirty word. How did we arrived here?
Consider the following stereotypes from history. For many, such story snippets exist in mere memory, nevertheless I suspect they resonate and wield determinative power over current perspectives. Once we understand something about the journey, what might the next steps be?
Continue reading “That dirty word doctrine”
People have proposed many different paths toward acquiring unity among believers. If we will pay close attention to Jesus’ teachings as well as to his apostles’ instructions, we will discover an oft overlooked powerful contributor.
Before people spill a drop of ink or type a single letter revealing our strategies for uniting Christians, we would do well to listen to the Messiah. Jesus prepared people to follow him by describing an essential attitude preceding kingdom service. Continue reading “What precedes Christian unity”
Jesus prayed for unity among his followers. In Ephesians, Paul described God’s plan to create unity through Christ. Is there hope today for unity among believers?
When faced with the problem of religious division, Paul simultaneously undermined false values that foster divisiveness while cultivating principles promoting the unity God desires. His prescription boils down to three guidelines:
Continue reading “Paul’s prescription for unity”