Friday, November 01, 2013

Church Police

Church Police

In my experience as a Christian and Preacher, you would think that any disagreements, arguments, or debates I'd have would be with the non-Christian, the atheist, or those from other religions, but not true. It seems anytime I've had a disagreement with someone over Christianity it is always a fundamental or legalistic Christian who feels it's their mission and life's work to be God's police to the world. 

These types of people make it their personal mission in life to prove others wrong, be right, argue, debate, belittle, name-call, and look down on those who do not line up with them whether doctrinally, theologically, denominationally, or other church or faith issues.  It's a mind-set of either you are for me or against me.  You either agree with me or you are a liberal, heretic, sodomite, watered-down, ignorant, stupid, (add you own description here), I've been called a lot.  The sad thing is I don't like to argue(really!), but some folks can't seem to understand that, their whole faith system is made up of proving others wrong, being right, and making a point to "police" Christians.

I do agree that God wants us to preach "Truth" and He wants us to "correctly" handle His Word, and He wants us to not be afraid to stand up for our faith or convictions, however, in all the scripture I read I do not se anywhere where God commands or endorses this militant, dogmatic, legalistic, or sinful style of treatment of others, as a matter of fact, I see Jesus spending a lot of time condemning this type of behavior and attitudes from the Pharisees and religious leaders in the gospels and also Apostle Paul doing the same in the Book of Acts.

The truth is you can know the truth, preach the truth, and share the truth, but if you don't do it with a loving heart and attitude, I think you do more damage than good.   This type of preaching Hell, Fire, and Brimstone, Old Fashioned, Hardcore guilt-driven, hate fueled, argumentative, arrogant-style of behavior does not lead people to the truth or grace of Christ, but repels people from God and church.

It seems we live in a world where many folks would rather worship their traditions, their denominations, or their "styles" than worshipping and serving Jesus Christ.  The Bible teaches we will be known by our "fruit" (Matthew 7:16) not by our being a jerk.  Scripture also teaches people will know we are Christians by our love(John 13:35) not by our knowledge or display of finger pointing skills.

I am all for exposing error and sin.  I am not preaching or teaching anything goes, we need boundaries of truth from God's Word, but to be honest most of the things people debate, argue, and fight over with other Christians, are not essentials to salvation, or are not a salvation issues, meaning it has nothing to do with our salvation or our salvation is not in question.  Yet, we make many issues/topics a test of fellowship(we refuse to fellowship with others who don't agree with us on every issue/topic), or we make it a separation of saying I am right and they are wrong, so I am saved and they are not.  Look at the things we divide and argue over?  Bible versions, church musical styles, dress codes, church names, traditions, views on issues like eternal security or end of times, etc...

We seldom see arguments of  God's deity, or trinity, or virgin birth, or Jesus being the ONLY way to God for Salvation, the inspiration of the Bible, etc...we argue over stupid things that we've been raised or brain-washed to believe and that does more damage to the church and Christianity when Christians fight, name-call, belittle, and argue over who is more right, or has better grasp on "truth", or things of this nature.

I think we need to work out our own salvation.  We need to love God and love others the way God loves them. I think we need to study God's Word on a regular basis, pray day and talk to God, be guided by the Holy Spirit, and be involved in worship, service, and giving in our local church and stop majoring in minors and stop making everything a salvation issue.

We have lost common sense in our lives when we make it our soul purpose in life to police other Christians or churches and not honor God with our actions and attitudes.  We are not honoring or representing God when we spend our time focus on our differences and not on what we have in common, which is of far greater importance. Whether you are scared you're going to hell, or scared you're going to be wrong, or whatever, it's time to realize God did not call us to be the police, watchdog, or judge of the world, but to simply be a Christ-follower, a church body part, and fulfill the great commission and be disciples. Honor God by loving others and sharing truth in love.

Ephesians 4:1b-3(NIV)

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

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