Christian Life 

What keeps Christians apart?

'Secondary issues' are often the reason given for Christians staying apart from one another. But is there the possiblity that there are issues lying underneath?
 


ApartJesus prayed:


"MY PRAYER is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.


I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  John 17:20-23

Disagreements on doctrine and matters of interpretation are a feature of the Christian church and have been through the centuries.

However it is possible that these differences on 'secondary issues' are being used to mask other problems like pride, petty preferences and 'sacred' traditions.

Is it too easy to trot out high-sounding reasons relating to doctrinal dogma to justify  – whether at personal or corporate level — keeping other believers at arms length?

Christians Together and Thistle Channel TV caught up with one minister for a view -

 Are 'Secondary Issues' a convenient excuse? 


"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."  Matt 5:23 - 24

Thistle Channel

Christians Together/Thistle Channel TV, 30/05/2011

Feedback:
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Peter Carr (Guest) 07/06/2011 20:03
"An FP member once pointed out that they take a high view of 3 things: The Lords Word, the Lords Law and the Lords Day. Like a 3 legged stool, take away one and the whole thing collapses."

Being big on the Lord's law can often lead to a lack of the Lord's grace!!
Martin Lisemore 07/06/2011 22:40
Peter: Being big on the Lord's law can often lead to a lack of the Lord's grace!!

Oh, how all denominations, factions groups and house churches could take that to heart, and act on it.

At the risk of offending Ewan, we do not need our petty pieties such as Peter has kindly listed above. What are they, if not building a righteousness of our own ... and making it an offering. No church should have regulations (laws) such as would bind the soul of any person; no rules should prohibit growth in grace.

Let me say, I am NOT an antinomian; but my righteousness doesn't consist in following laws, but in God's grace freely given to me; in Jesus' righteousness imputed to me.

Of course we need some regulation within an assembly, some order, particularly at the Lord's table. Paul tells us that quite plainly, and not without reason. But we may not elevate these to a righteousness, a piety, which becomes a continuing right of passage within an assembly. Even bingo halls have rules!

When Jesus said, Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden (yes, I'm reading the AV at the moment) he didn't say, but first you must have a suit on, or read the AV instead of the NIV, or only you who are baptised in the Holy Spirit (that would cause a doctrinal rift!).

No, He gave no conditions, and nor should we.

If I remember my Greek correctly (Peter tell me if I'm wrong, please,) the phrase, 'you are saved by grace,' is in the present continuous. Grace, unmerited favour, is the gift of God, not splits over personalities and doctrinal issues.

We are each responsible to the Lord Jesus for our conduct, and at the end, at our judgement, we may not get much favour if we can say only, the Church of Scotland said, or the Church of England said.

I put it to you: if your salvation depends on rules, denominations, laws, petty righteousnesses, then you've have never been to the foot of the Cross; neither has your soul has never hung on that terrible weapon of torture, even for a moment. Therefore you do not live in Christ's love, and all that implies.

If you've been to that Cross of Jesus, you know what I'm talking about, and if you haven't ... well, you need the rules and laws.


Alec (Guest) 08/06/2011 08:19
"Let me say, I am NOT an antinomian; but my righteousness doesn't consist in following laws"

So you're OK with stealing, adultery and murder then?

Just love the "I am not (fill in blank), BUT.." argument - makes me laugh everytime.

Which is simply a pusillanimous way of saying "Actually I am.... (no but)"
Peter Carr 08/06/2011 10:45
Alec,

I understand what Martin is saying, which is in line with what Paul says in Rom 6.

Martin said, "I put it to you: if your salvation depends on rules, denominations, laws, petty righteousnesses, then you've have never been to the foot of the Cross; neither has your soul has never hung on that terrible weapon of torture, even for a moment. Therefore you do not live in Christ's love, and all that implies.

If you've been to that Cross of Jesus, you know what I'm talking about, and if you haven't ... well, you need the rules and laws."


The Holy Spirit says through Paul in Rom 6;

13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness."

Paul further says in Gal 2: 20 (which also ties in with Martin);

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

That is the insight and understanding which puts secondary issues firmly in their place!!


Peter Carr 08/06/2011 10:46
Martin said, "If I remember my Greek correctly (Peter tell me if I'm wrong, please,) the phrase, 'you are saved by grace,' is in the present continuous. Grace, unmerited favour, is the gift of God, not splits over personalities and doctrinal issues."

That also is my understanding.


Alec (Guest) 08/06/2011 12:47
This is all good stuff and standard reformed theology, but the bible also makes it clear that "faith without works is dead"

For works to mean anything, they have to be measured against an absolute standard - that standard must be the divine Law! It cant be anything else.

I'll quote from another author which I think says itr well:-


Dr. C. I. Scofield makes the following observation in the Scofield Bible: "(These are two aspects of one truth). Paul speaks of that which justifies man before God, via: faith alone, wholly apart from works: James of the proof before men, that he who possesses to have justifying faith really has it. Paul speaks of what God sees-faith; James of what men see-works, as the visible evidence of faith. Paul draws his illustration from Genesis 15:6, James from Genesis 22:1-19. James's key-phrase is 'ye see' (James 2:24), for men cannot see faith except as manifested through works."


Peter Carr 08/06/2011 14:58
Alec,

Our appropriate response to God's Grace is to respond to the Law of Grace, i.e. 'working out our salvation with fear and trembling' (Phil 2). 'Faith with works...' is living in a constant attitude of gratitude of what the Lord has done for us, therefore we no longer live for self but for Him in every sense.
Martin Lisemore 08/06/2011 22:34
Alec, what on earth are you talking about? Perhaps you should read what is written.
Martin Lisemore 08/06/2011 22:55
Alec, I care not whatever label you or anyone else cares to put on straight forward biblical theology - the labels, and all they mean to people, is of no eternal consequence, and that is my primary concern.

These labels divide and not unite the Body, and the author of these labels, and those who perpetiuate them, is guilty of dividing the Body - not something I would want to answer for.

As for quoting Schofield, well, his provenance would not stand too much scrutiny, which places him in the place of a scholar and not a man led of the Holy Spirit. There are better sources to quote than Schofield - try the Bible itself.

I'll go with the Holy Spirit. he is eternal and Schofield is dead.

As for works, we may work 'till the cows come home, and it have no value in eternity. Jesus said, Take up your cross and follow me.' If we just assume a cross, and offer it as a righteousness we are in the place of the Pharisees. Two requirements pertain before it has any redemptive value: first, that cross is God given for us to bear, and second, we bear it in love.

Nothing else has has any redemptive value for us.

Peter, thank you for confirming that. It was a little too late in the evening to get out my books and check. And I think your Greek is better than mine.
Tony Black (Guest) 09/06/2011 09:54
Works is the visible and tangible outworking of real, true, living faith. We 'work' because of the invisible imperative which our faith places upon us.

But while (real) faith without works is a contradiction in terms, it is entirely possible to 'work' without faith (good humanists do it all the time). It is also possible however to fool ourselves that our 'works' stem from faith, when in fact the root is inseecurity.

And of course (heaven forbid) it is even possible to think that our salvation is in our works (a dynamic rooted in either guilt, 'unworthiness' or self-righteousness).
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