There is a total and vast difference between having a differing viewpoint from another disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter who they may be or their position, and having the wisdom and spiritual understanding, the heart, the love of Christ within us, the working of the Holy Spirit along with using the good mind the Good Lord gave us for our human understanding to see this, know this, and to carry on as brothers, as sisters, as children of God, God’s chosen people and — thinking or making the claim that unless a person with an opposing viewpoint puts their view aside and sides with us then they are not saved.
A total and vast, and very dangerous difference if not fully, completely, really understood.
The divisions within church bodies, the spiritual illness, the love of many waxing cold, the lack of true warmth generated from a heart aflame for the Word of God, to give God all the glory, and to praise, honor, believe, obey, be thankful for and to the Lord Jesus Christ for His sacrifice for us unworthy of forgiveness is glaringly evident in more and more places devoted to the praise, honor, and worship of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Let us all beware of the seeds of evil airborne everywhere that can easily land within our hearts and minds and begin to germinate and grow.
We all must be vigilant continually. Daily. Looking into the spiritual mirror and seeing what reflects back upon us. Is it Christ alone, or something else? If something else it’s time to immediately clean the mirror and reflect the correct image. Repent. Make the Lord what matters most in all things.
Differing views? They arise among all people all the time. Between husband and wife, families, put two people together and they will have myriad opposing views if even similar in many. It’s how we are. Our very natures. At enmity with God. Do not let an issue remove you from God’s presence making any worldly matter, issue of the day, or viewpoint front and center to dominate.
The evidence of these are the last of the last days is the growing coldness, and the lack of real Christian understanding and love in more and more churches. The love of many waxing cold. So many are on the defensive and going to swift assumptions while making the ways of this world and a particular, or group of issues a higher priority than our walking side by side with the Lord Jesus Christ and having Him as our main focus. Always. In all things. It isn’t easy. Especially in these times. But it is possible with our turning to God, our faith in the Lord, our time spent in the meditation of His Word, and in fervent humble prayer.
All things are possible with God.
Even placing His Son first and foremost and cold stubborn hearts, arrogant hearts, worldly hearts, and minds warming.
Ken Pullen, A CROOKED PATH, Thursday, November 17th, 2022
Needing more than Jesus
17 November 2022
By Jeremy Dover
Reprinted from Christian Today [in the U.K.]
The math does not make sense, but the truth of the equation is essential: when you add to Jesus, you actually subtract from Him.
This curious fact burned bright as I read the article. It came from a small local church’s magazine. The author explained that salvation is by faith alone.
However, right after that theological gem, the core of the Christian faith, came that dreaded three-letter word… “BUT.” The point the author was trying to make was that Jesus saves BUT if you take a different moral position from himself on the stated issue then you are flatly denying the Bible and therefore not saved.
In essence, he is saying, yes, Jesus saves but you also have to add the right knowledge. It changes the equation from Jesus saves to Jesus plus [insert the hobbyhorse] brings salvation.
Topics that divide
If you have been around churches any length of time you would have seen the issues that divide: styles of worship (e.g. Psalms only, contemporary, Hymns), types of baptism (e.g. full immersion, infant, covenant), Bible translation (e.g. KJV, NIV), your position on current moral and ethical issues… and the list goes on.
While I have seen people change their minds on these types of issues, the fact these debates have lasted 2,000 years is a sign they generally won’t find resolution through your next argument.
However, despite the many important differences that divide opinion across churches, all these communities agree in the saving grace of Jesus alone.
In his classic book “The Justification Reader,” Thomas Oden, explains that all the denominations, from Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Reformed, to Charismatic see salvation as a gift given through Jesus’ sacrificial death for His people. To err from this core is, by definition, to remove the Good News.
To add is to subtract
To add to this Good News and claim Jesus plus a certain knowledge is required is to add to Jesus. This ironically takes away from the magnitude of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
So when this church leader acknowledges that Jesus is all you need… but you also need to take the same position he takes on an issue or you are not really saved, that is wrong. It cheapens the gospel and lacks pastoral wisdom. If you want a great historical example look at what happened in the “Marrow Controversy” from Scotland.
How do we deal with issues that divide?
Pastoral wisdom requires a higher peace that acknowledges that not everyone over the past 2,000 years will agree with your position. It also means that there is always room to learn and grow in our knowledge of God’s love and grace.
Look at the confession Simon Peter makes of Jesus as the Messiah. The context (Mark Chapter 8) shows he really has no idea what he is saying. He goes from being a rock to a stumbling block in a few verses. He acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah yet tries to stop Jesus from completing His mission.
Would my church magazine friend call him unsaved or would Peter be seen as needing to grow in his faith guided by a patient Jesus?
Salvation is from God alone. That is secure in Jesus. Yet we are all on a learning curve in our faith. Sometimes we need to show grace and mercy to guide the immature brother or sister rather than dogmatic judgement. Other times we need an understanding that many issues are complex. God desires for us to display humility in working through difficult topics.
The secret is to have the wisdom to see which side of this equation we are on.