Wazup!!! It’s been a while hey? Sorry guys. I know you’ve all been eagerly anticipating my next blog. Well, here it is 🙂
The other day I was meeting with a mate of mine for a cup of smooth joe and we were talking about a whole range of things. A previous blog of mine on a controversial theologian and topic came up in conversation and my friend commended me on how gracious I was without compromising truth. That was encouraging, I needed to hear it. Out of nowhere though I said to him “if you can’t love those you disagree with, even those you believe to be heretics, if you can’t sit down with them over a coffee and love them, I think you’ve missed the point of the Gospel.” He seemed to really like that line, so much so I thought I’d write about it.
As I sit back and think about all the different movements, denominations and theological tribes within my own tradition (Protestantism), I can’t help but sometimes feel overwhelmed by how often this seems to cause division. I’m not talking about going to war or schisms per se, rather, I’m talking about the smaller divisions that happen in our lives, our colleges, our local churches. We hold so dearly to a certain doctrine or thought and believe is so integral to the Christian life we alienate (either wittingly or unwittingly) other people, not just unbelievers (God forbid), but the people Jesus told us to love in order to let people know we’re His disciples (John 13:35), our brothers and sisters in Christ. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt different, separated and alienated from friends, groups or even local churches for believing in one thing or another. It seems that sometimes in the quest for purity (which is so vitally important by the way) we unnecessarily cause disunity where there doesn’t need to be. More so, the people out there that we consider heretics and false teachers (whoever they may be), the people who probably need to hear the Gospel, and need God’s love more then even we do (we’re the only ones who can give it) are so easily cut off from even healthy dialogue because we so easily dismiss them, not just their theology.
Let me be clear because I’m sure someone would love to take a dig at me for being a cop-out or something. Heresy is heresy. False teaching needs to be addressed and dealt with. The Scriptures are fairly clear about this (Matthew 7:15-20, 2 Peter 2). However, as we deal with heresy or false teachings (or just people we generally disagree with), unity needs to only be sacrificed on the altar of purity as a last resort (sometimes it’s needed). We should never have these sorts of conversations at the expense of the person we disagree with who bears the image of God, the same God who tells us to love and bless our enemies (Matthew 5:44), to love our neighbours (Mark 12:31), and to pray for all people everywhere (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Discipline, truth and love aren’t mutually exclusive concepts. If Jesus sat with people who tended to be way off on their theology, eat with them and in patience correct them until they repented or left Him then so can we. Occasionally, we might have to shake the dust from our feet, declare the grace of God to be upon them and be on our merry way, but we need to do better at filtering out the toxicity in our conversation and injecting compassion, empathy and a sprinkle of wisdom into our dealings.
Love well dear friends, especially those we disagree with. They really need it, and Jesus really wants them.