Thanks to Arthur at “The Voice of One Crying Out in Suburbia,” I’ve been involved in a few conversations on Google+ concerning fellowship, unity, interpretations, etc. (Yes, there are occasionally good discussions on Google+.) Arthur wrote about this in his post “Leaving our preferences at the cross.”
I have enjoyed this conversations very much, primarily because they have forced me to consider what I believe about various teachings as their relate to being a follower of Jesus Christ.
For example, when he was thinking about these discussions, Arthur wrote:
Taking our preferences to the cross and letting them die there. That sounds great but man is that hard! One of the hardest things about seeking a deeper sense of community is the inherent danger that when you let people in to your little world they are likely to make a mess and you might find that you don’t like them or agree with them very much. On the other hand in our natural state we were enemies of God, sinners in open rebellion against Him and yet He still sent His Son to die for the sins of His elect and adopted us into His family. If He did that for us I guess we can learn to get along in spite of our differences and quirks and annoying habits!
I agree completely with Arthur. We should be willing to give up our preferences and opinions for the sake of our brothers and sisters in Christ. This does raise some tough questions though, and these are the questions that kept circling around our discussion on Google+.
Where do we decide to draw the line between our preferences and beliefs that are necessary for someone who is following Jesus? I’m not asking WHAT those beliefs are. Instead, I’m asking a slightly different question: How do you know that a certain teaching is necessary but another teaching is a preference?