“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:1-7 NLT)
One thing for sure, humanly speaking, no two of us will totally agree with everything in every aspect even if we are in the same denomination and in the same church. On top of that, we all have our faults. We also have our convictions that differ. But that does not mean we cannot be united in the Spirit to propagate the love of God and Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul and Barnabas serve as a prime example. Even though they chose to separate for awhile, this did not stop them from spreading the Good News:
Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (Acts 15:39-41 NKJV)
We are commanded as Christians to try our best to live in peace towards all men:
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18 NKJV)
There are definitely gray areas with some believers where we must proceed with caution. Paul gives us good advice in Chapter 14 of his letter to the Romans where he addresses eating and drinking and the observation of days. These 3 verses capture the heart of it in a nutshell:
“I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.” (Romans 14:14-15, 19 NLT)
We are also commanded to avoid foolish disputes the best we can. But let’s face it, some people like to argue. If someone won’t relent from this, we must stay away from them:
“But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition.” (Titus 3:9-10 NKJV)
The real problem is when someone brings in damaging doctrine that can destroy. Look at the following Scriptures about this and what must be done:
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17 NKJV)
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him.” (II John 1:7, 9-10 NKJV)
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.” (II Peter 2:1-2 NKJV)
In summary, the point I am trying to make is that at times, we as Christians need to agree that we disagree and move on in love, not damaging our witness to the world. We are to avoid disputes about biblical interpretations we have that are different from a brother or sister in Christ if it starts leading to a sharp contention. But if someone brings in a damaging doctrine, this is a whole other ball game and where the line must be drawn. This is where we are to cut the person off. It’s a shame that this has to happen, but the Bible warns that this is a matter of reality throughout all church ages.
No matter what Christian denomination we are, as long as we know Jesus as Lord and Savior, we need to work together in spreading the Good News in love. It must be a love for God and our fellow man.
And no, my Jesus can’t beat up your Jesus because the true Jesus loves us both!
Many times people point the finger at each other and label each other divisive or proclaim heresy. Click on the following PDF to see what the Bible further teaches about this: