How Big is Your God-Part Three
Agree to Disagree
Once again I want to make it clear that I believe correct biblical doctrine is important. There are doctrines that we feel very strong about and would stand up for them even if everyone else disagreed. However, individuals or churches can use doctrine to cause unnecessary division, or they become prideful and give the appearance of 'holier than thou'. And an overemphasis on doctrine can "Put God in a Box" that He does not belong in.
Richard Baxter a Puritan preacher in the 1600's made the following statement: "In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity." It could be restated as "Unity on the essentials, freedom on the nonessentials, and love in all things."
In regards to biblical doctrine there are some essentials. The bible makes them very clear and there is no room for Christians to not agree on these essentials. These doctrines actually define Christian belief. Some of the most important are: Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone. Salvation is by faith alone. Jesus was truly man and is truly God.-not a God. The word of God (the Bible) is infallible. The principles of the Ten Commandments are just as valid today as in the past. There are certain things that God calls sin.
There are many other Christian doctrinal beliefs that are nonessential in regards to salvation and going to heaven. In other words, we are saying regardless of your belief in these doctrines, you will receive eternal life. The problem is some Christians make these doctrines essential and your belief in them determines if they will have fellowship with you. They are determined they are right and if you disagree you must be wrong and either you are not a Christian or you are deceived and God will not bless you because you are not in agreement with His doctrine. The problem is, is it His doctrine?
Le me explain. In the essential doctrines there is widespread agreement in Christendom and there are not apparent contradictions in the Bible. In the nonessentials it appears there are contradictions (I do not believe God contradicts Himself and I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture). There are some things that for whatever the reason God chose to not make them clear. He knew there would be different interpretations by sincere Christians on some doctrines. So why did he not make them as clear as the essential doctrines? Because He is God, and He refuses to be "Put In a Box" made by man. If we could define every aspect of God, heaven, hell, the end of the world, death, etc. then He would not be God.
So let's agree to disagree on the nonessentials. Yes, stand for what you believe, but accept that sincere, Bible believing Christians may have a different perspective than you. And guess what, maybe God Almighty has a different perspective than you. Maybe you are wrong. I am glad that I serve a Big God, and that I cannot figure Him out, even if I get deceived and think I have figured Him out. I am not going to let my doctrinal beliefs (other than the essentials) stand in the way of me having fellowship with other Christians. I will learn to Agree to Disagree.
So what are some of the nonessentials? Before I mention them I want to say that I do believe these doctrines are important and I have strong viewpoints on them. And, of course, I believe I am correct in my interpretation. But winning people to Christ, helping to set people free from sin, living a victorious life, feeding the homeless, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is more important than being right. The gospel of Jesus Christ is that we are sinners in need of a savior, it is not our pet peeve doctrines that many want to argue about and get mad about if you don't agree with them.
How Big is Your God?
Can you agree to disagree with other Christians? In the next nugget we will list some of the 'nonessentials'.
To the world, you may just be somebody...but to somebody, you may be the world.
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