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the good guys

February 23, 2009

First, you should really check out an article by John Piper about what God’s people can learn from an economic recession called “Don’t Waste the Recession.”

Second, something has been really bugging me lately that has me examining myself.  I’ve noticed more and more how much time Christians spend hammering other friends of the gospel because of non-essential theological differences.

We’re straight up at The Bridge – good doctrine is really, really, really important to us.  There are some issues about which it’s more important to be right than to be together – a high view of Scripture, salvation by faith alone, penal substitutionary atonement, the gospel, the person and work of Christ, etc.  Those issues are untouchables.  But we should consider everyone that agrees on the central things as being “on the same team” as us instead of bashing them because “well, he baptizes babies!”.  Here’s an awesome paragraph I read last week from a seminary professor…

I would have “problems” with MANY of the great Christian leaders of the past. Martin Luther liked beer, a LOT; John Wesley was pretty disappointing as a husband; George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards had some annoying amillenial and hyper-Calvinist tendencies; C. S. Lewis squeaked in some pretty confusing stuff to his Chronicles of Narnia; D. Martyn Lloyd Jones baptized babies. But these were people whom God used mightily. It doesn’t excuse the errors or mean that we shouldn’t be clear about why we see things differently, just that we recognize the centrality of the Word of the Gospel and God’s hand on it.

I heard a pastor say this week that “I have a problem with MYSELF looking back 5 years ago.  I did some things and believed some things that have since changed, but God’s hand was on me then and it’s on me now.”  Same definitely goes for me.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2009 8:18 am

    Great blog! Thanks for reminding us of what we are called to. I loved the paragraph from the seminary professor! Looking back almost always scares me. I am a better husband, father, and follower of Christ today than I was 5 years ago and hope and pray he continues to mold me. Our church is playing a part of my future.

  2. February 24, 2009 8:43 am

    Thrilled that all of us are on the journey together. No doubt about it… a marker of spiritual maturity is being tolerant of people who are fellow journiers without tolerating poor theology and activity that is not Christlike. I’m just glad people have given me grace for my confusions through the years.

    On a final note… I think we’re going to be blindsided when we get to heaven and realize some of the things that were “foolish controversies” that we church types lifted as important discussions. Even more devestating I believe we’re going to realize just how much those debates affected those who might have chosen a relationship with Jesus.

    Paul’s words to Titus are important to all of us, especially those of us who love to talk and debate theological arguments:
    Titus 3:9-11… But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. [10] Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. [11] You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

  3. February 24, 2009 3:16 pm

    Rick, that is a tough scripture for me to digest. When you have someone close to you who is clearly divisive, “have nothing to do with him.” are pretty strong, difficult, but clear instructions.

    I hope that we can be full of grace as we approach the people of Spring Hill with the gospel, that we can accept that we may interpret non essentials differently and still cling to all of the above that Josh said were essentials. These are exciting times because I see God working in The Bridge, giving them gracious, tender hearts, and that is where we definitely need to start.

  4. February 24, 2009 3:21 pm

    And that Piper article, AWESOME. That man does not disappoint. Thank you for sharing. So, helpful

  5. shelley permalink
    February 24, 2009 5:12 pm

    Shouldn’t all of us have a problem with ourselves looking back 5yrs, if we’re continuing to grow in the knowledge and grace of God (and with life experiences giving us a reality check when it comes to what God’s grace really means)?

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