the weblog of Alan Knox

Drawing lines

Posted by on Jan 28, 2010 in unity | 11 comments

I’m not interested in drawing lines between myself and other brothers and sisters in Christ… even those with whom I disagree. If our beliefs are what draw us together, then our beliefs will also separate us. However, if we are drawn together by the Spirit of God then only the Spirit can separate us, and I see no indication in Scripture that the Spirit is interested in separating brothers and sisters from one another.

We must learn to accept one another just as we are, and just as God accepts us in Jesus Christ.


11 Comments

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  1. 1-28-2010

    That’s good Alan. All you have to do is look on any street corner and see how divide we are as a body. I have fallen into that trap of letting my beliefs separate me.

    It’s all about Jesus and Him crucified. Surely we can come together in His name. Keep spreading the word!

  2. 1-28-2010

    I bet many people would sacrifice almost anything to actually experience what you suggest: To be accepted, accepted as we are, accepted as God accepts us – in His Son. Anything, that is, than having to accept (insert real person or type of person)?

    I think Larry Crabb wrote about this sort of acceptance in “The Safest Place on Earth.”

  3. 1-28-2010

    Alan,

    What do you mean by “drawn together”. Does that equate to meeting in the same building or house? I do believe you are right but I don’t know the practicality of that. Often times belief are so inherit in the actually group or person that they are inseperable. This could get sticky so I just want to understand. What makes one group meet together and not this group? Why drive pass this group, and that group and that group… (here in the south there is a group on every corner) and go to this group? Are you saying that is wrong? I guess I don’t understand what draw together means from a relational standpoint.

  4. 1-28-2010

    Lionel,

    I can only answer your questions in the way that God is leading me. If God brings a brother or sister into my life, then I do not separate from them simply because we disagree, even in cases where our disagreements seem very important and perhaps even impossible to reconcile. (Of course, there are reasons to separate, but I think the examples we see of brothers and sisters separating in Scripture bear little resemblance to what we see today.)

    -Alan

  5. 1-29-2010

    Alan,

    Okay I think I see what you are saying. Maybe you are talking church membership or anything right? For example, you move here and there are two churches one seems to be more in line with what you believe, would you consider going to one versus the other “seperating” or preference? For example I have two church both are equal in distance but I like one more than the other would I be seperating if I chose to fellowship with one versus the other?

  6. 1-29-2010

    I think what Lionel’s pointing out shows how we have created a system that misses the point. I see no indication in the biblical record that believers in a town went past one place to meet with another. They appear, from the letters written to them, to consider themselves all part of the same body.

    I saw this play out in an interesting way when I was in Ukraine for a month back in 1992. We (the group I was with from the USA) would travel throughout a region ministering at different churches. Often, we saw some of the same people at each location, and often those same people were participating in the ministry, too, by singing or praying or teaching. These were not “professionals”, but merely members of the body of Christ.

    All of the churches in that region appeared, from what I could tell, to consider themselves one with each other, and so people were free to use their gifts in multiple locations of meeting.

    Alan appears, from my reading, to be advocating something that differs greatly from what normally plays out here in the west. And I think Alan’s on the right track.

  7. 1-29-2010

    Steve,

    Thats very interesting. How do you think that would or even could work or do you believe we are too entrenched?

  8. 1-29-2010

    Actually, I’m not thinking of the “church meeting” or “worship service” at all. The form of shared life that I’m talking about must take place outside of a formal meeting. As a blogging friend said once, “There must be life outside the meeting in order for there to be life inside the meeting.” The same is true for unity.

    -Alan

  9. 1-29-2010

    So how does the meeting come in to play in this conversation or was it not in view at all?

  10. 1-29-2010

    Alan, I didn’t really mean to emphasize the “meeting” in my comment about Ukrainian believers. Their “meeting” was way more than just a gathering of believers for a formal meeting. It was an all-day affair including hearty meals, fun fellowship, laughter, playing together, etc. It was that fellowship as a whole that indicated a life together not separated by the four walls of a physical building. They were all one church, though having multiple buildings, “leaders”, etc.

    Lionel, I believe that in many ways western Christiandom is way too entrenched. It will require a lot of “breaking” if the current system is to have any hope of achieving what Jesus prayed for. But for many of us, we are seeking that very expression with any who wish to seek the same thing and doing everything we can to encourage and spur on those who don’t know any other alternative. We do not divide ourselves, but seek unity with all to whatever extent they will allow.

  11. 1-29-2010

    A meeting was in view in my statement only in the sense that the whole life of a believer was in view. The statement was originally inspired by one believer calling another believer an “opponent.” If we approach one another from that perspective, or even from the perspective of “wrong,” then I think we’ve lost unity even before we start… whether we meet together or not.

    -Alan