Division or Different? Unity, Not Uniformity

by GfG on October 22, 2013 · 8 comments

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“…. but not to quarrel over opinions.”  Romans 14:1

I have strong opinions on some topics.   That is probably an understatement.  Ahem.

I believe most are supported by Scripture (possibly not the belief that a new pair of boots every year is a great idea, but I’m still hoping).  Some are areas of Truth, some of them fall under a freedom of Christ category and some are non-Biblical issues (such at the best brand of boot, not that I’m obsessing on boots or anything).  That means, my opinion is mine and I need to follow my God led conscience, but it may not be the same answer for other brothers and sisters in Christ.

It also doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have a solid opinion.

After sharing my post on Why We Don’t Have Our Kids in Public School, I was accused of causing division.  That made me weep.  Bawl.  Upset to the core.

My post was clear in that I stated these were Paul and I’s reasons.  Ours.  Yes, it’s true that some of our reasons contradict other people’s reasons for actually doing the opposite, yet that doesn’t mean division is the end result.

Division within the church is a serious accusation and topic.

Yes, division can occur for Biblical reasons, but it can also be wrong.  The Bible speaks to that.

Division that occurs where matters of theology and doctrine are at stake is good.  When it has been debated and some land on different sides, division is a blessing.  It is a God honoring reason for dividing.  Truth is truth and it matters what a church body as well as a person believes.

Division that occurs were matters of opinion are at issue is bad. When a man takes his opinion on areas of freedom and makes it equal with Truth, a sinful heart attitude is ruling.  That is not a God honoring reason for dividing a group.  Truth is truth and opinion is opinion.

It’s ok to have both, as long as we don’t equate them.

These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.  Jude 1:19

Again, I have strong opinions on Truth as well as my own opinions on some issues not a part of Truth, but a part of freedoms (aka: gray areas or non-addressed areas).  That’s ok.  It’s also ok if you have opinions on the same topics and they completely clash with mine.

What is not ok is if we are unkind to one another.  What is not ok is if we can not minister to one another. What is not ok is if we believe and/or tell others that they may not have or express their opinions.

One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. …” Romans 14: 1-23

When we condemn each other’s opinions on areas of freedom in Christ (that do not clash with Truth), I believe we are walking in the pride of our own flesh.   The flesh never edifies.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ”  Galatians 5:13-14

In I Corinthians, Christ, via Paul, teaches that the church is beautiful when the body is Biblically diverse. When grace reigns.  Where freedoms are expressed in love.

We can agree to disagree in love.

I have prayed, talked to my husband, and sought godly counsel and do not believe my posts were divisive for all the reasons above.  I take seriously the call to grace and truth.  I want to encourage and edify.  I enjoy having friends who see freedom issues differently and embrace the family of Christ warmly.

I have always had friends (including very close ones) and family, and pastors that see areas, including the public school one, differently.  I have loved, supported, and fellowshipped with them the entire time I have held my opinion on public school.   I have loved them as I have loved myself.

I do not think churches where everyone has the same opinion on every single freedom in Christ are necessarily good.  I see them breed legalism, both ends of issues.  I see them destroy grace, both ends of issues.  I see them tear down what Christ loves, both ends of issues.  Uniformity is a bad idea, no matter how much it feels good.  I would dare say it’s fueling our flesh.

The body of Christ is made up of many parts.  Many personalities.  Many kinds of people.

The body of Christ should be able to have different opinions on areas of freedom.

The body of Christ will glorify its Head best by walking in truth and grace.

Family Unity Pic WEB

I challenge us to see the importance of unity, not uniformity (nod to one of my pastors, Chris!)!

Unity Family Pic Silly WEB

We need to be unified in our doctrine.  It matters.

We need not be uniform in our areas of freedom.

We can be different without being divisive.

We have to subject our hearts to Christ to make sure this happens, especially when faced with those who have a different opinion.

Do you see the difference between divisiveness and difference?  Can you see the difference between unity and uniformity? 

 

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