Tony Woodlief | Author

Gentle disagreement

I’ve been wrestling for weeks with how to be at peace with fellow Christians who also happen to be harmfully heretical (and popular) teachers. On the one hand, we’re all supposed to love one another and get along. On the other hand, love doesn’t dictate that we pretend a donkey is a unicorn, at least not when we’re dealing with full-grown educated adults who ought to know better.

I realized that if nothing else I have to get my own heart, and the tone that proceeds from (and reveals) it right. I wrote some things about one highly popular Emergent Church fellow some months back, and I’m convinced that every word was true (in a nutshell, that his theology is that the only parts of the Bible that are relevant today are the parts Jesus said), but I know from some reactions that the words were strident and unloving, which means they fall flat with the very people I’d like to reach with them.

And maybe it doesn’t matter; the Relevant Magazine/Emergent Church/Sola Scriptura Rubra nexus will collapse under its own unrealized expectations of a brave new Christianity one day, and that day of dogmatic reckoning likely won’t be hastened by anything I have to say.

But this is something I’m trying to sort through all the same, if only to work out my salvation with more fear, more trembling, because I’m entirely too satisfied with being right, and the impetus to argue ought to be concern for the other, not esteem for the self.

All of which is to say that in my rumination I spent some time in the gospel of Luke, and ended up writing a little essay for my friends at Good Letters, and I thought you might like to take a look. Here’s an excerpt:

There are many ways to be with us, Christ says, but if you are not with Me, you are against Me. The us part is determined by the Him part. The unauthorized man waging war against demons wasn’t a disciple, wasn’t an official Christian, per se, but he had seen this God-man reclaim people from the evil one, and so with a heart of faith and compassion he was doing the same. The disciples wanted this to be about their exclusive club, whereas Christ made it about faith.

Abide with Me and you will be with us.

We are creatures prone to enmity, however, and so we tacitly subvert this guidance.Fit into our church if you want to be with Him. We make allegiance to our petty little tribes the standard for others, as if we control the doorway to heaven’s kingdom. We ask: “Are you with us, or against Him?” It’s far easier, you see, than answering the question put to each of our lives: be thou with Me?

You can check out the rest of it here.

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