Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Scriptural Unity vs COG "Unity"

When I ponder various issues, I sometimes write my thoughts as single statements or questions. This method/format often helps me organize my thoughts and clarify details or confused thinking. The following is such an exercise....


1 The acceptance of “the truth” has been used as a method to create division, for fear of allowing “false doctrine” into the “true” church.
2 As the Church of God, we should never compromise our understanding of the truths of the Bible revealed to us, for any reason.
3 We should open our fellowship and interactions with other churches to include those who are saved there, even if they do not “believe like us”.
4 We should acknowledge our different understandings of the scriptures, discuss them, search the scriptures together that relate to them, but maintain active fellowship between individuals in the other groups (churches).
5 “Correct” doctrine should not be the test of fellowship between professed believers.
6 Said another way, the use of “false doctrine” as a reason for division is not always scriptural.
7 Question: Which doctrines are important enough to divide over, and which doctrines are not.
8 Is unity between believers more important than agreement on doctrines?
9 While false doctrine (beliefs, commandments, practices, theological and spiritual constructs not based on correct interpretation of the bible) can (and has) destroyed the spiritual life of many people, this is not necessarily so for every “false” doctrine.
10 Which is more damaging to the body of believers, division, or failure to understand all Biblical content exactly alike?
11 Some doctrines allow believers to continue to commit sin and still believe they are saved (from sin) and going to heaven.
12 This is intolerable to other believers who see salvation from sin as not allowing any more sin in their lives.
13 Holiness, or sinlessness, is a Biblically defensible requirement for all believers, and is generally acknowledged by both sides.
14 But even those who subscribe to holiness doctrine acknowledge that young believers might/will commit sinful acts ignorantly until they grow in scriptural knowledge about such transgressions.
15 So, what is the difference? Some believers commit sins innocently and are still saved, others commit sins because of doctrinal (mis)understanding, and may still be saved.
16 Conformity to an erroneous doctrine may be viewed by God as the same as innocent ignorance to scriptural commands.
17 Who really knows how God judges doctrinal/biblical misunderstanding in people?

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Personal Spiritual Priorities:

1 Obey God (read: God’s spirit and word (the Bible)). Ecclesiastes 12:13
2 Accept all other professed believers (assuming no sinful/offensive behavior).
3 Comply with the local church congregation practices (assuming no conflicts with the above).
4 “Live at peace with all people as much as you are able”. (Hebrews 12:14, Romans 12:18)
5 Do good to all people especially to those of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)
6 Do good works (this requires personal time).
7 Keep the unity of the spirit as we all come to the unity of the faith. (Ephesians 4:3-13)
8 Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 19:19)