| Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace...|
Paul says, in Eph. 4, that we should walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Jesus said that men would know that we are His disciples by the love we have one toward another.
With this in mind, I have a question that I would love to hear some thoughts about.
Over the past few years I have come face to face with some very obvious errors in the body of Christ. Yet, to a good degree, the men and women who are deceived by these errors as well as those who promulgate these errors through their teaching, are men and women who are bearing fruit in that people are genuinely coming to Christ through their ministry. (I say to a good degree because there are some wolves in the sheep pen as well.) And, despite their error, these people also show the evidence of holiness and the genuine love of the Lord.
Now I am not talking about clear cut heresy. Obviously, if you come preaching a salvation by works or claiming that there was no virgin birth, or denying the death, burial, and resurrection, or saying, as the Jehovah's Witness do, that Jesus was not God in the flesh then you are obviously preaching heresy. I think we would all recognize that in an instant and agree. What I am talking about are things like, as has been mentioned in other posts, dominionism, kingdom now, etc.. While I have compared the foundational teaching of these doctrines to the Word of God and found them lacking and, quite frankly, have been left scratching my head wondering how someone could misinterpret scripture in this way. And while I have seen some that are caught up in these movements who are doing great damage in the body of Christ. Yet, I also see those who are involved in these things who are bearing great fruit.
The same is true of the history of the pentecostal movement in America. Charles Parham was influenced by several erroneous doctrines. He borrowed a few of his beliefs from the Jehovah's witness. He dabbled in freemasonry. He was also influenced by some very good things. One of his primary influences was Methodism, from which came his views on sanctification and holiness.
Yet Parham is partly responsible for countless thousands and perhaps millions of people who are born again and serving the Lord and reproducing good fruit for the Kingdom of God. He was, I have no doubt, a man of God as I grew up around those who walked with him and knew him personally.
I have been grieved lately as I have listened to some very popular men on the radio who make it their "ministry" to denounce most every doctrinal perspective other than their own as heresy. Can I call them heresy hunters? Yet their only ministry, it seems, is to denounce and to divide.
So the question is this. To what degree can a man be off in his doctrine? Where is the line between pronouncing a man a heretic and forbearing with that man and striving to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? To what degree can a man miss it before I should distance myself and denounce that man?
I would love to hear some perspective on this.
| 2012/9/24 16:21||Profile|
| Re: Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace...|
I think you sort of answered your question by listing those esential doctrines which all true Christians would adhere to. There are those foundational truths of God and His salvation that all those who are born of God will agree with (if not fully comprehend).
The scripture you quote at the beginning is interesting, in that it talks about the unity of the 'Spirit'. Note it is not unity of 'doctrine'. Paul then lists those esential things by which we are united in.
Ephesians 4:3-6 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
[There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.
Note, we can only 'keep' something we already have. So we are to maintain that unity which God has established by the new birth.
Now what is very interesting is that as you read on in this chapter Paul talks about the ministries that God gives to the church (Apostles, prophets, evangelists, Pastors & teachers), for the perfecting and edifying of the saints.... and here's the point in verse 13....
"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ".
So we keep the unity of the Spirit', because we are born into of that Spirit into one body and one God, but we are growing in the 'unity of the faith'. i.e. growing in our knowledge, understanding and walk of Christ. This is unity of doctrine.
We haven't arrived at being perfect yet, either in our doctrine or our walk. So we bear with those who are still growing in areas that we have already grown through.
There are always those who think they have all the correct doctrine and shout heresy at every one who differs, but they are just showing how immature they are. :/
| 2012/9/24 17:00||Profile|