Dealing With Differences
The other day, for the umpteenth time, a discussion on Facebook ended with the charge that churches of Christ claim they are the only ones going to heaven, that it is “their way or the highway”…Such extreme and emotionally charged accusations are usually the sign of a bankrupt position which is not credible on its own.
And, for the umpteenth time, and for those who retain a sense of decency and intellectual fairness, let me offer some thoughts.
1) There are many kinds of “churches of Christ”. If one looked hard enough, he could probably find “churches of Christ” that did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus, that followed no divine pattern, and that were separated from the most extreme “scriptural teachings” by name only. In the very nature of the case, there is no central voice of “churches of Christ” so one labors in vain to substantiate this charge.
2) All churches today, right or wrong, are made up of “people” – flawed, biased, sometimes bigoted and judgmental, often worldly and carnal, temperamental – people. And individual “people” have no standing in speaking for “churches”. What a given person might opine, or even what a local group might hold collectively, cannot provide grounds for a universal accusation.
3) The charge is false! At least, among members of the “church of Christ” I am familiar with. No one that I know claims to be perfect – which is another way of wording the charge! In the past for sure, and in days to come, likely, we have all been mistaken about scriptural truth at one time or another. But, there is ABSOLUTE spiritual truth, and it “cannot be broken” (John 10:34)
4) I don’t know ALL truth, but I know SOME truth – The truth that I KNOW applies to both you and I, and it is the same for both of us. Usually such folks are claiming a “flexible” truth -- you have “yours” and I have “mine”…which is neither scriptural nor reasonable. One thing members of the “churches of Christ” (at least those who are familiar to me) do that makes them different – they search for truth at all costs, are willing to surrender their point of view if it contradicts truth, and work to bring all others to that truth. But we can’t have that, can we?