While it is true that brethren do not always agree… it is a fact as well that we can still love each other and still be unified in Jesus. It has long been difficult to have an open and unafraid discussion of “disputed matters,” and discover how to deal with these things while KEEPING THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE.
What would Jesus say/do? What would the Apostle Paul write and instruct us to do? These are truly difficult times and questions, while we strive to “walk in the old paths” of truth, we seek wisdom to be clear on what are matters of salvation (essentials) and what things are not matters of salvation (non-essentials.) Some seem willing to sacrifice UNITY for DOCTRINE (i.e. DOCTRINE AT ANY COST.) Others are eager to sacrifice DOCTRINE for UNITY (i.e. UNITY AT ANY COST.) This summit is about trying to FIND BALANCE through God’s GRACE, avoiding EXTREMES, restoring and maintaining the UNITY of the Spirit.
* I understand that some will not WANT to make the effort to find balance needed… or go the distance needed in restoring NT Christianity and seeking unity. Nor do some want to even consider the matter… This is sad indeed.
* I understand that others will be getting out their “big black markers,” and are ready to label as “unfit” or “heretical,” any who would question or challenge the status-quot. This too is sad, because it is a sign of “institutionalism.”
* However it is this scribe’s opinion and hope… that there are many other brethren who are tired of the in-fighting, and “naval-gazing” as well as the dividing to the point where many congregations CANNOT EVEN AFFORD TO KEEP THEIR DOORS OPEN while the lost world “goes to hell in a hand-basket!”
To illustrate the need for such a summit I site the following:
1. One congregation recently has had a problem with MODESTY, and in order to fix the situation, sample clothing was placed on the bulletin board. Clothing ACCEPTABLE and clothing UNACCEPTABLE. Needless to say, this has created a stir. Unless calmer, wiser minds prevail, the result may well be disastrous, with Christians being lost to the world, and the church defamed in that community.
2. Another congregation decided to introduce musical instruments in one service and have singing without instruments in another service and thus accommodating those who did and did not want instruments. Another congregation condemned that congregation in their town local newspaper for all to see proclaiming that they considered this congregation to be apostate, listing verses supporting their points. Now whether or not you agree with the use of instruments, this scribe’s question is WHAT GOOD WAS ACCOMPLISHED by the action taken?
I understand the “explosiveness” of this and many of the “hot buttons,” but until and unless we find a way to properly handle things of this nature, the church will continue dividing until it is gone or of little effect in this world.
Our problem has been and probably always will be in over-reacting and going to EXTREMES.
* Brethren, we propose nothing new. We suggest a basic principle many have missed… and that is to understand GOD’S GRACE more and learn to APPLY it Biblically. IT IS TIME to earnestly seek to not only RESTORE NTC, but also “MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT THROUGH THE BOND OF PEACE.”
* It is my judgment that until we learn to let God be the Judge and the “weed Puller” in disputable matters and opinions, and learn how to deal not only with the “weak brother with love,” but also the “contentious, and argumentative brother with united front,” we will not be about the Father’s business nor the Son’s great mission and will continue to be distracted…
While UNITY is not a command (as far as I can tell), it surely was a desire and prayer of our Lord.