Will we ever be a happy, faithful, productive people? Or will we spend our remaining forty years in circular traipsing motion of doctrinal wrangling with little impact upon the world Jesus died to save?
“Is it all right to listen to a Christian song on the radio which has instrumental accompaniment?” was the question posed in the early 70s when I was in preaching school. “Can a church have a Mother’s Day Out program when the Bible doesn’t authorize it?” was another. The correct answer to both was supposed to be a resounding, “No.”
Thirty-five years later we still have similar divisive questions. Why is that? It is because we are learning Christians on the front side of completion. One day this will all be resolved. The bigger question is can we reach a point of unity amidst completely opposing and strong opinions as to what the Bible says? The answer is a resounding, “Yes.”
God has given us the road map. It’s up to us to choose to travel it. Some wanted to eat the sacrificed meat. Other’s didn’t. Some wanted women to keep wearing veils. Others had grown past it. It just hasn’t worked to say to the offended one, “You yield” because both parties are offended. The solution is God’s solution: love. Ironically, even that is a non-solution to some because they don’t love people; they love being right…which clearly leads to more circular traipsing motion.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. We can get happy! We can love one another while we disagree. Our problem is not in what to do about the latest issue arising in one congregation after another. Ours is a lackluster effort to believe the Word of God. We love Truth more than we love People and we are bent on preserving and being faithful to Truth. However, Truth says we will bear up, believe in, hope for, and endure each of our testy moments for the sake of caring about “us”.
What do we do, elders and preachers, when our people can’t agree? We lead out in harmonic example by giving each the room to express their faith where it is at the moment. At Memorial Drive we have some who raise their hands in worship. Others don’t like it. There is no rule issued. Those who want to can and those who don’t aren’t required to raise their hands. However, both groups are required to allow the other preferential expression without imposing their judgment on another. And guess what…..we are a happy, faithful, productive people.
Yes, we are still on the incomplete side of ideal. Still yes, we are able to be greatly enthused by being in one another’s presence….and His!