Today I was reading Mark chapter nine. In this chapter the disciples are having a debate about who is the greatest amongst them. They are ashamed to tell Jesus what they were arguing about and rightly so, it was an argument born of the fleshly nature of young men who are naturally competitive. Human nature assumes that some are better than others. I was reminded though of the debates raging through the blogosphere and the evangelical church in America. These debates include cessationism versus continuism and emerging church versus the modern church versus seeker sensitive. It seems to me that each thinks the other is wrong and our way is better. (Now I don’t stand for false doctrine and I will speak out against it.) But so much of the debate really isn’t about someone being a false teacher even though that is the stated reason for some of the disagreements.
The next part of Mark 9 really reminds me of much of what I have heard and read from both sides of each position. “38“Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40for whoever is not against us is for us. 41I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”
It is important to know and be able to explain what you believe. It is important to stand up for that and not to compromise for the sake of compromise. But what really matters is that the gospel is preached and that people understand how to be saved. Until they accept the message we cannot make them disciples anyway. Paul wrote in Philippians 1:18 “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”
As I read recently from Mark Batterson, (and this is a paraphrase), heaven is a big party and God wants as many people to come to the party as will accept the invitation on His terms. Although I will very much disagree with some of my brothers in the faith, ultimately whether we are Calvinists or Armenians (sp?) doesn’t matter what counts is that we are of like precious faith. That is how I can sit down tomorrow with my fellow pastors in town from the Cumberland Presbyterians (although he came out of an AG church), Free Methodist, Untied Methodist and Disciples of Christ and know that we are all brothers in Christ.