Theologies separate, denominations separate, but the Bible through the Spirit unites Christians in Christ (Ephesians 4:1-6; Colossians 3:11).
I have Christian brothers and sisters who are disposed to different theologies, but we worship together in harmony. We worship together in Christ in whom we are united. He is our Lord, and we love Him, along with His Father and the Spirit.
Our Guide and Companion is the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) who opens up the Word. We read it; we meditate; we pray. We seek knowledge and wisdom for applying them to our lives of service. God gives us joy and grace to continue, no matter what setbacks and obstacles may seek to hinder us.
Now and again, in our friendships and fellowshipping, we may find those who feel rather strongly about their theologies. They would rather worship with those who share the same theology; hence, there is division. They feel strongly that God is calling them to come out from a particular church and to worship elsewhere.
When every effort has been made to discourage their departure, but to no avail, the church has to leave the matter with God. He is Sovereign and He places people where He would have them. Nevertheless, it is always a sadness to those left behind. A member is missing – their talents, their gifts, their service and their love are gone.
I have experienced this loss and I have found myself grieving.
Not so long ago a person who regularly worshipped at the church of which I am a member stopped coming to services. I gather that the Lord was calling him to worship elsewhere. I know he was a staunch subscriber to Dispensational Theology.
Before his departure we had corresponded via email and he explained why he saw the Scriptures as he did. In response to his explanatory email I replied to let him know I used to be a Dispensationalist, but now see the Scriptures from the viewpoint of New Covenant Theology –
Here is a copy of that email, minus personal details which have been redacted and replaced with blanks like this ____ ________ .
You have a big responsibility and load to carry with your ___ ministry. I pray that many _______ will turn to the Lord, be given life in Him and receive the blessings of His promise. That is my prayer too for friends and family who do not know Him. May the Lord bless you and uphold you in your work.
I really appreciate your views on items posted at my blog. Theological viewpoints are always open to debate.
I used to be a dispensationalist, having been brought up, as it were, under the teaching of John MacArthur. I used his study bible for many years; jolly good it is too, but heavily biased in the way he interprets God’s word……. Having a literal, historical, grammatical approach virtually to all books of the Bible. Hermeneutically, to me that does not hold water. The bible contains many genres, and it seems sensible to examine and interpret them within their modes of presentation, i.e., history, prophesy, symbolism, poetry, narrative, etc..
So much depends on who has been our tutor, and furthermore, has he been constrained by his own upbringing in a particular church, or has he been influenced by a certain seminary, maybe one that holds to the Westminster Confession of Fatih or the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith? Was he brought up to revere doctrines, creeds and confessions of faith?
As far as I’m concerned, sola scriptura, scripture only is the way to go.
We have to trust the Bible and be guided by the Holy Spirit. Today, we are blessed with many translations, all of which can be tested by reference to the original scripts freely available online. If we have the zeal of the Bereans we may come near to finding the truth.
The singular thing of great importance is that whatever our preferred systematic theologies we all love and obey Christ in faith. If we do, we have that bond of unity as brothers and sisters in HIm.
As I write this email ____ ________ is preaching on the subject of ‘unity’. He is using Ephesians 4:1-16 as his text. The passage states ‘There is one body and one Spirit ……. one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.’ (verses 4, 6)
That just about sums it up.
Why have I published this article? To express the view that unity in Christ is what binds Christians together; not theologies and denominations which tend to separate through highlighting differences of biblical interpretation and practice.