Thursday, July 16, 2009

What Unifies is More Important than that which Divides

Rick Warren had a great tweet this morning, saying "I believe in the absolute inerrancy of Scripture, I do not believe in the inerrancy of my interpretation - or yours either." Jesus prayed for all of the believers in John 17:22-23, saying, "I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

Jesus' desire was for all of those who follow Him to be one - one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. Too often we waste time at odds with one another trying to clarify our definition of inerrancy when the truth is we should all believe the Bible is God's Word, given to us without error. The problem is we are imperfect people who have trouble receiving without error. Paul said in I Corinthians 13 that on this side of heaven we know in part, see in part and prophesy in part. In other words, we do our best to understand the perfect Word of God, but we still acknowledge that we aren't perfect and we don't always get it right.

Instead of engaging or dismissing parts of the body of Christ based on different interpretations of Scripture, I like to ask the question, "Are we all pursuing God to the best of our ability and trying our best to be faithful to Him?" If the answer is yes, than we need to be willing to put our differences aside, or at least be open to good discussion, prayer and ongoing discernment instead of putting each other down and encouraging division in the body.

I've been asked recently why the new church is called Ashley Ridge Church instead of Ashley Ridge United Methodist Church, and the answer is that, bottom line, we are a Church that believes Jesus is Lord, and that's what we're all about. That's why there is a large cross right in the middle of our logo beside the word "church." Paul also said, "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."

My church history professor always told us, "agreement on the essentials makes us free to disagree on the non-essentials."

No comments: