the weblog of Alan Knox

So, what am I against?

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in discipleship | 11 comments

So, what am I against?

Last week, I was talking with someone about the church. As he listened to what I was saying, he rearranged my thoughts and presented it differently, saying, “So, that is what you’re against?”

To be honest, I was taken aback. I thought about how he had rearranged what I had said, and realized what a difference it made. I explained, “No, I’m not against that. Instead, I’m for something else.”

Since that conversation, I’ve been thinking about the difference between being “for” something or being “against” something else. I realize that this difference causes some misunderstandings and perceptions.

For example, I’m “for” believers meeting together in a manner that allows them to interact with one another – both to speak to one another and to serve one another – in order to foster mutual edification among the church. But, this does not mean that I’m “against” other kinds of gatherings. I think they are less healthy and are less conducive to mutual edification and growth among the body of Christ. But, that’s different than being against them.

Similarly, I’m “for” the church choosing/recognizing elders from among the believers who gather together regularly, and I’m “for” those elders continuing to work “with their hands” in order to support themselves and their family and to help others. However, this does not mean that I’m “against” the traditional manner of hiring strangers to be “pastors/elders” and paying those people to remain among a group as “pastors/elders.” I think that traditional manner of leadership is less healthy for the church. But, that’s different than being against those people.

There may be benefits at times to standing “against” certain things. But, I try to work from a different direction – I work “for” the kind of community in Christ and mutual discipleship that I find in Scripture. At times, when I promote a certain understanding of church, it may seem that I’m “against” other understandings or even other people. But, that’s not my goal or purpose.

Instead, I hope to continue to work “for” the church working together to build one another up in maturity in Jesus Christ.


11 Comments

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  1. 7-24-2013

    This is a very important distinction you make here, Alan. You have stated it very well – it edifies. Thanks. Don

  2. 7-24-2013

    The unsaved always hear from Christians what the Church is against. Hearing what the Church is for is not always obvious to them.

    Here’s to always noting what we are for and for making that our primary message.

  3. 7-24-2013

    Your positive labor is a blessing to many, bro.

  4. 7-25-2013

    Mark 9:40; Luke 9:50 … whoever is not against you is for you…

    So if you’re not against something – doesn’t that mean you’re for it? Aren’t you stradling the fence here?

    I’m all for my kids, but I’m not for one of them sticking his tongue in a light socket. I mean we’re for people – but we’re against the things that will hurt them.

  5. 7-25-2013

    “But, this does not mean that I’m “against” other kinds of gatherings. I think they are less healthy and are less conducive to mutual edification and growth among the body of Christ. But, that’s different than being against them.”

    Everything is just wording isn’t it? I just wonder what’s a proper way to phrase this opinion you have so it creates a more positive, unifying picture? It’s so hard to communicate!! Cuz It just depends what we think ‘against’ means. Does it mean that we don’t agree with it? Does it mean we don’t want it? Does it mean more than that and it’s too aggressive of a word? Does it insinuate that you’re trying to attack it because you’re pushing away from, against?

    I guess I don’t like the word either and see how it could cause negative focus instead of positive…. but not using that word demands so many more words to describe what we believe when people genuinely want to know what we see/believe.

  6. 7-25-2013

    Don,

    Thank you. I’m glad this post was helpful.

    Dan,

    Yep. I think it works that way for believers as well.

    Joshua,

    Thank you for the encouragement.

    Jerry,

    I don’t suppose that those who disagree with me are against me either. And, I certainly don’t assume that they are against Jesus. So, no, I don’t have to be against people who come to different conclusions about the church. We can both be FOR Jesus together in spite of our differences.

    Randi,

    I wish it were just wording. But, I think it makes a big difference (both in my own heart and to others) whether I present my desire to be for certain things or against other things.

    -Alan

  7. 7-25-2013

    I’ll have to think on it more then. Because I do believe that in being for some things…. it means we are “against” some things. But what I mean by that word and what that word means to you can be very different things and judgement can be passed on the heart, just because the word choice.

  8. 7-25-2013

    Because can’t “being against” mean that out of the 2 (and more) options that I see (meeting this way, meeting that way) I’m against THIS way (for me, for right now) because I really believe the Lord is taking me away from that and towards THIS WAY instead.

    Being against doesn’t have to mean I think it’s evil or think it’s not for anybody anywhere at all times.

    I also feel ‘against’ because I’m going against the flow that says go that way…. because I see there’s a different way…. it’s hard to go against the flow & the norm of what is around me…. I’m going against tide in many ways.

    Even though I am NOT just being reactionary and not just trying to go AWAY, Against something…I AM going TOWARD something because I SEE What could be…. but by going TOWARD one thing….. I AM naturally going against other things, and against what feels the flow the other way.

  9. 7-25-2013

    But I don’t have to focus on that :) I can just focus on what I am FOR….. but in safe honest places, I would have to admit I am “against” because I see there’s such a different WAY.

  10. 7-26-2013

    I have found myself in similar conversations with friends and family. I have attempted to explain my position in ways sjmilar to yours but you did a better job. Thank you for articulating a very coherent response. I think I will use this going forward.

  11. 7-26-2013

    Dennis,

    I’m glad that you found this post helpful!

    -Alan

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