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.