When I post something about a preacher or church leader that I have found issue with there are 3 typical types of response:
When we disagree with the legitimacy or validity of a pastor, the usual response we get is: “we should have a united front for the sake of the unbelievers” or “we aren’t loving one another” by disagreeing.
In our culture as Christians, the most common complaint that the secular world will lob at us is that “we hate those we disagree with”. As most Christians would agree that non-acceptance isn’t hatred, why do we forget about that with each other?
If I don’t agree with Joel Osteen and his doctrine or theology, and I speak against it, that doesn’t mean that I hate Joel Osteen, it means that I love the Word of God so much that I want it to be spoken of correctly. If a non-believer accused you of hating a homosexual because you call his lifestyle sinful, you wouldn’t just say “oh, yeah you’re right, I should just love him and his sin”, you would use a cliche term like “love the sinner, hate the sin”. So why don’t we do the same when believers don’t see eye to eye?
I am not sure that we should even have a united front for non-believers. Non-believers already think that Christians are cookie cutter versions of each other. We are also thought of as having no critical thinking skills and just believe what we are told.
I believe that speaking out in disagreement can actually be a refreshing experience for the non-believer. To see that we aren’t effortlessly satisfied with faith, that we reason and work out our experiences and knowledge. They need to see iron sharpening iron because that is an unfamiliar idea in many people’s lives.
Disagreements are a reality in every day life, why wouldn’t they be in the church? When we try to put on a front for non-believers we are really only fooling ourselves. Just because they live in the world doesn’t mean they are imbeciles, they are smart critical thinkers too and they want to feel like they can continue to be smart critical thinkers in Christ.
A man or woman who takes on the identity of being Christian does not automatically receive carte blanche from other Christians, and shouldn’t. We are in the mess we are in today because too many Christians weren’t educated enough or had enough courage to stand up to those who were preaching dangerous doctrine in leadership positions in churches.
We should have the freedom to speak openly to and correct each other in the purpose of edification and truth. Putting aside what society has deemed offensive and moving forward in full confidence in our Lord and Savior, exercising freedom and grace.
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