Sunday, October 21, 2012

Don't Go Fighting (Titus 3:9-11)

"But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned." (Titus 3:9-11 ESV)

This is not the first time Paul calls out people for being divisive. The Bible does not really like sectarianism. It is not that you should not believe a certain way or stay true to your convictions; it is just that more often than not you don’t need to fight about it. Do your best to hear from God. Try to follow and obey what you have heard. Be open about how you believe when there is a reason to talk about it. But don’t assume that everything God has instructed you to follow is also His instruction for everyone. Or better still, even if it is, don’t presume that you are His anointed voice to be followed.

Outside of the basic Gospel message, there are plenty of things in Scripture that are open to interpretation. There are also a lot of things that we have added to Scripture that God may have told one person but didn’t intend for everyone. The Bible says not to get drunk, and also mentions a select class of people that are not allowed to ever touch alcohol. Plenty of people struggle with the temptation of alcohol and need to stay away completely, but it would be a presumption to tell everyone that they should never drink, especially when Paul specifically instructed certain people to drink!

There are portions of Scripture where Paul says he doesn’t allow women to teach men, but there are also examples of women teaching men on God’s instruction. Where do you draw the line? That is up for you to decide. The important thing is to allow other believers to struggle with the issue as well. The Holy Spirit might be a better teacher than you. Whatever you do, fighting over theology or theories or legal issues of Scripture is clearly not a good thing.

One of the worst forms of sectarianism amongst Christians of late is not even a God thing. We have become downright passionate about a secular issue like politics. Even if you want to argue that there is a spiritual dimension to governments, what you shouldn’t claim is that all good followers of Jesus will also be followers of one political party or another. To fight over anything trivial is wrong, but the way “Christians” are behaving when it comes to politics these days is downright embarrassing.

Stop it!

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