Wednesday, February 23, 2011
But the question then arises: What are the boundaries, and what is worth dividing over? That there are things to contend for is clear from Scripture (Jude 3). But we must realize our knowledge is imperfect (1 Corinthians 3:18), and while we are to diligently pursuit all Biblical truth (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2:15), there are particular issues we need to uphold. There are certain things put forth by Scripture as fundamental, and these must be defended: the nature of God (Deuteronomy 13:1-5), the nature of Christ and of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4), the sinfulness of man (1 John 1:8-10), the nature of the gospel (Galatians 1:8,9), the truth of Scripture (John 17:17), and the Second Coming (1 John 3:2,3). I am not claiming this is an absolutely comprehensive list, but I am convinced that many of the things we fight over are not on it. Therefore, there may be places where it is best to agree to disagree, if the issues are not crucial.
If we are to correct people in these crucial areas, we need a knowledge of what Scripture teaches regarding them. Those who are immature may want to bring in someone more knowledgeable to help. But it should be our goal to be mature and able to respond to people ourselves (Hebrews 5:11-14). Also, experience in dealing with those who hold false doctrine is helpful. You talk to somebody and then go back and study the issues and are better prepared next time. But most of all, we need to trust God for wisdom to be able to deal with the situation (James 1:5-7).
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
There are reasons why we shy away from any kind of ritual. There are those who those who, contrary to Scripture (Colossians 2:16,17; Galatians 4:9,10), have tried to impose their precise rituals on others, even to the point of arguing over the date of Easter and over how many fingers one should cross oneself with. But isn't forbidding various rituals the same thing (Romans 14:1-12; Colossians 2:20-23)? Also, we are not simply to go through the motions of worship (Matthew 6:1-18; Malachi 1:10). But I have found one can go through the motions no matter what type of worship one engages in. The issue is one's attitude, not the form.
Is there, then, any point in ritual? I am convinced there is. It engages the worshipers on a number of levels and encourages them to be involved in the worship and not just to be spectators. Therefore, if it is not rigidly prescribed and not done in a mindless manner, it has its place in legitimate worship.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
But it is at times like these that I fall back on the fact that God is in control of the world and in control of my life (Ephesians 1:11; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 2:10). Still, I do not think God ever tells us everything, because He wants us to trust in Him and not in the knowledge He gives us (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 127:1,2; 1 Corinthians 3:18). If we think everything is on our own shoulders, we will falter. But if we trust in God, He will bring us through.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
But there arose a movement to purify the kingdom and restore the good laws of the High King. To do this, they sought a champion to oppose the politicians and restore the kingdom to proper order. They bestowed on the champion unlimited authority and allowed none to question him. But the champion, having unlimited power, began to use it to indulge himself and his companions. This resulted in debauchery, greed, and corruption at a new, higher level. Many endeavored to curb the champion and correct his abuses. But having unlimited authority, the champion avoided every attempt.
Finally, the corruption became so bad many citizens of the kingdom revolted. They declared their independence of the champion and set up their own governments separate from his. However, they were not able to agree on a common rule but ended up in many groups, fighting among themselves as well as with the champion. Many even found the need to ally with the politicians to fight the champion. Meanwhile, the champion, having cleaned up some of his most blatant abuses, reentered the fray with renewed vigor. This resulted in wars, tumults, and disturbances. Many, as a result of this (or perhaps using it as an excuse), left the kingdom or remained as those who served the High King in name only. But the divisions in the kingdom continued, and while some threw out all the High King's principles in attempts to reunite it, none seemed able to do so. Therefore, some still followed the champion and some followed the revolution and others held to a mere nominal allegiance. And the question remains: Is this what the High King really wanted?