Sunday, February 8, 2009

Christians for One Another

As I reached the one-year mark of my blog being in existence, I looked back on all the posts I have written. Many posts are just "blog material" (this is what I've been doing, etc.), but many of my posts are also a testimony of God's work in my life. When I post these "testimonies," usually it's just a conglomeration of what I've been thinking about for the last several days. I will have an issue that was brought up to me, either by someone else or just something I happened to be thinking about. After thinking about the certain issue for several days, that's when I finally sit down to right what I've decided regarding the issue. Of course, what I've decided isn't necessarily right, and I would be the first to admit it - I have many, many holes in my understanding.

Having said all of that, I do want to thank everyone for commenting on my blog. I'm not just thanking you because you happen to have wasted lots of your own time reading my posts, but I also thank you because I'm very selfish. Growing up in the faith is something that every Christian should be doing, but it is also something that is accomplished in multitudes of ways. One of the ways I grow is to be actively discussing an issue with someone. I have to be thinking it through for myself. This is one reason I joined a debate forum a number of months back. This is why I enjoy it so much when these issues come up in everyday conversation. This is why I started my blog. My blog is the place where I post what I have been thinking about, and I post things with the full intention of being perfectly 100% willing to discuss it with people. I love to discuss issues. It's one of the ways I grow in the faith, and I do think that it is absolutely essential to every Christian's life. Some very common excuses for not discussing differences of opinions on issues are:

1) I don't want to break up the body of Christ. Wow there. That's a little scary to think that man's fallen nature could break up or even separate the body of Christ. Does it seem possible that with all Jesus has accomplished in restoring us back to God that something we do could separate Christians from each other? No - I think that seems a very weak argument. Sure there are differences in what people may believe about certain issues and doctrines, but just because they happen to believe the opposite of another believer doesn't somehow mean one of the two people are not saved. There is nothing that anyone could ever do that would break up the body of Christ. We are the body of Christ - the living stones being built up together to be Christ's church. If you think that we could somehow break up the body of Christ, this is because you don't know what the body of Christ is. The body of Christ is about being united in Christ - not in externals such as having similar backgrounds, being of the same nationality, having similar interests, or even agreeing on a given set of doctrines. The body of Christ is united only in Christ. Nothing else. Of course there could be other similarities between brothers and sisters in Christ, but if there is not, it does not necessarily mean that someone has gone off the deep end.

2) I don't want to cause our differences to affect our friendship. Though this seems very legitimate, I think that issues can be discussed and come to a conclusion in love. Remember the law of love? It comes in here too. I would be the very first to admit that in the past, in my zeal to get people to understand the Gospel, I have not spoken in love. "Being preachy" is what they call it, and it does not come from a heart of love for others. Yes, issues can be discussed, and I do believe they should be. Your friendship should not be effected if you are speaking in love and remember that your common bond is in Christ - not in a given set of doctrines.

3) I don't want to discuss things because I don't want to look stupid. This is one of the lousiest excuses I've ever come across. How else can you know how to defend yourself unless you have the experience of actually having to do it? Coming back to what I stated earlier, one of the most beneficial things for me is to be forced to say what I believe about something and why. That's why my blog has also been good for me. It forces me to have to put what I believe into words instead of "ummm," "uhhh," and "let's move to a different topic." I believe that the Spirit works differently in Christians to force them to think. If you are never confronted with something you don't believe, you will never learn to defend yourself, think through what you believe, and convincingly know why you believe it. People pointing out errors in what you believe is actually one of the most beneficial things you will ever go through; it points out where the holes in your thinking may be. I see such a huge problem with Christians who will refuse to discuss issues with Christians they know don't believe the exact same thing. It is so good for Christians and will help them grow tremendously in their faith to have to think through and discuss what they believe. The body causes the growth of the body, and this growth is helped most by talking with, discussing, and encouraging Christians. I'm not at all saying that growing can't be done through agreeing on an issue. I'm not saying that at all, but I do believe that variety in the Body of Christ causes Christians to grow.

Having said all of that, you're probably wondering where in the world I'm going with all of this. Actually, I do have a plan.

I have gotten this very distinct feeling that people will only comment on my posts if they happen to agree with everything I say. This actually kind of makes me sad/mad that people will not challenge me in what I believe. Does this mean that they aren't thinking, or am I so unapproachable that they can't even disagree with what I say? Of course, I don't really see a problem with people agreeing with me either. =) I also get this feeling that if people so dare to disagree with me, they wouldn't dare comment with what they think is the hole in what I believe. They'll just keep quiet. However, I would like to suggest the opposite. Please disagree, but please also tell me what is wrong with what I am saying and why. I need you guys! You will actually be doing everyone a favor to discuss these things because it will help you to grow in the faith. The family of Christ is there to help each other to grow - not to just dismiss what they are saying as being wrong. I know I have numerous faults in what I say, and you will be doing me a great service to show them to me. Of course, this all has to be done in the law of love, realizing that any differences in opinion we have are not the big picture. The big picture is that we are restored back to God and that our great commonality is in Christ.

Thank you, everyone, for reading my blog. I do appreciate the time that people put into reading and commenting on it. Please don't get me wrong and think that I'm forcing people the discuss things. This is not natural, and I don't believe it's right, but if you feel so inclined, I would really appreciate discussion.


Sarcastic Sally said...

You left out my favorite and most-logical excuse for not discussing things/leaving comments -- PURE LAZINESS!

Well, maybe you did mention it...
I'm in class right now, so I just skimmed the post. But hey, at least I'm not lazy in class; I'm multitasking! :-P

Hmm, if you've had your blog for a year, that means I almost have too... I've been wasting people's time for a year! YAHOO!

Anyway, good post. I'm looking forward to seeing some great argumen-- I mean-- discussions in the futures.

Sarcastic Sally said...

Yes, you heard me -- the futures!

Great Googly Moogly! said... want some disagreement? Here goes:

A Haiku for you (with all apologies to BT-the Righteous Rapper)

Aerosmith is good
Canon in D is Awesome!
And cats are cool, too!

There...plenty of "disagreement". :-)

Seriously though, you make a good point about how we "grow" in the faith. That's why I enjoy the "discussions" I get into with other bloggers. I get the impression sometimes that they "hear" me say some strange things (input sarcastic remark here!), or at least not in a way that they are used to hearing something put, and it's a blessing for me to try to explain myself clearly so that they understand where I'm coming from. Of course, sometimes they still don't agree with me-can you believe that? Oh well, God will deal with them on Judgement day! :-) But even so, there is a mutual edification as we build each other up simply by discussing the Gospel.

None of us really know exactly where we're "wrong" about something (or how wrong we really are!), but we should encourage one another in the faith to be able to cogently discuss why we believe the things we do (and to alter some of our understanding if things don't add up). Only in this way will we be prepared to engage the "world" with our faith.

Keep up with the writing and interacting with others. I promise I'll not hesitate to challenge you on something that I may disagree with. But I also promise that it will be done in "love"...after, that is, as a self-respecting "fundamentalist" I pound you over the head with the Bible a few times! :-)


Mr. Worm said...

Hey, Abb, you did a great job with that. I wasn't sure what to expect, but you did an excellent job :-) Thanks, Shnabba!

Steven said...

When you are trying to perfect the art of being lazy, it's crazy to say that it's a bad excuse.

I, like Sally, will try to make better comment in the futures.

Anonymous said...


thekingpin68 said...

'Having said all of that, I do want to thank everyone for commenting on my blog.'

Cheers, and thank you for commenting on my blogs, Abbey.

'2) I don't want to cause our differences to affect our friendship. Though this seems very legitimate, I think that issues can be discussed and come to a conclusion in love.'

I think this way as well.

'I have gotten this very distinct feeling that people will only comment on my posts if they happen to agree with everything I say.'

I think we can always be respectful and since we are Christians, and in my case like you, Reformed and Baptist (although I am in the PCA) we agree on most things and can occasionally disagree, but in a nice way.:)


ilesh said...

nice one...