Monday, February 7, 2011

showing one another "uncommon decency"

Differing in Christ . . . showing others “uncommon decency”:

"A clash of doctrines is not a disaster -- it is an opportunity." Over the years I have had a number of rather significant "doctrinal clashes" with fellow disciples of Christ whom I love dearly, and for whom I have the utmost respect and regard. Fortunately, in most of these instances, our relationship was rather significantly strengthened by this challenging of the other's theological concepts and constructs, for such "clashes" were tempered with love, both for ultimate Truth as well as for each other. They were indeed "opportunities" for greater growth in understanding, and thus were far from "disastrous" in nature. If men refuse to allow their cherished doctrines to be challenged, guarding them at all cost from any intense scrutiny, these doctrines will quickly become tyrants over the thinking/reasoning of those who embrace them. We must resist such doctrinal tyranny with all of our being. There's no biblical doctrine so sacrosanct that it is above being subjected to thorough investigation in light of God's inspired Word. Any doctrine that men refuse to expose to such examination should be immediately suspect ... as are those who seek to shield it from this scrutiny, or who refuse to participate themselves in such biblical investigation into their own beliefs and practices.

(dialogue about a differing position goes on here)

Could I be wrong, and Leroy Garrett right? Absolutely. Neither of us has cornered the market on perfect perception of eternal Truth. However, we both must stand up boldly for what we believe Scripture teaches, and lovingly denounce those teachings we perceive to be contrary to that revealed Truth. I emphasize the necessity of love here, as I believe a vicious attempt to eviscerate my brother simply for differing with me places me in a most unenviable position before our heavenly Father. Therefore, I hereby reaffirm my love and respect for Dr. Leroy Garrett, and simply state that I believe he is mistaken in his above view. On the whole, however, this dear brother of mine, over the course of his lengthy lifetime, has done untold good for the cause of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and only eternity will reveal the number of those who have been brought to the Greater Light by the tireless efforts of this dear man. All of which far outweighs any particular point of doctrine about which he might be wrong. In the final analysis -- and this is true of each of us -- when we stand before the Lord one day, our various positions on various doctrines and practices will count for very little. What will count for far more is how loving and how merciful and how benevolent we were in our dealings with others. There's nothing wrong with challenging one another regarding our views, but may we never allow these dialogues over doctrine to deteriorate into division between devoted disciples. Our Father deserves better than that from His children!!

"It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us." - Oswald Chambers

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