The Truth Always Divides

  • Sumo

We live in an age when Bible doctrine has been all but chased from the assembly. Doctrine is out and ecumenism is in. The de-denominationalism of Christianity is in full bloom. That’s the effect of the world, which is a PC place, on the church. But things don’t have to be that way. It’s often said that “doctrine divides.” If the alternative is to be doctrine-blind, then I’d rather risk division.

The quickest defense thrown up against doctrine, in church circles, is the cause of unity. We must be aware, however, that life is forever pressing us into situations where we must make hard choices, and the hardest choices are never between good and bad, but between good and good. Harmony is a virtue, yes. So is truth. And let us remember that the truth always divides. This is not to say that matters of truth always trump matters of peacemaking. But God placed us into a world of moral dilemmas for a reason, and sorting things out is part of the journey. When someone confronts us with a choice of good versus bad (unity versus division), we must stop and realize that that is only part of the question. There is another, unvoiced choice to be considered: one good thing (unity) versus another good thing (pursuit of truth).

It’s true that doctrinal discussions tend to unite those who find agreement and distance those who do not. The latter people have some latitude, and some responsibility, to work to stay in fellowship with one another, but it is understandable that their challenges, after encountering doctrinal disagreements, are greater than they were before. The problem is that believers are only too aware of the risks posed by doctrinal studies, and hence they are driven away from studying or discussing doctrine at all. This way causes slow death - a different kind of death than that which worries the ecumenists among us. Believers—and especially church leaders—have become so keenly aware of the “down side” of doctrinal studies—especially touchy doctrines—that they tend to equate all such inquiries with high risk ventures. The feeling out there is that some doctrines will never be settled, that we are at loggerheads. Hence, so many congregations avoid them altogether. Maybe it is a hard-to-sell proposition, but some of us out here believe that harmony on doctrines, and correction on doctrines (where necessary), can yet be achieved. Meanwhile, many church members have forgotten, or never sensed, the “up side” potential of doctrinal agreements, as opposed to disagreements, as a unifying prospect for the church. A century or two ago, that was widely perceived as a great unifying and healing force. True healing lies in doctrinal agreements, and these can come only when Christians discuss doctrine. That’s what you’ll find on this site. Discussion of doctrine. Something you won’t hear from today’s pulpits. The exegetical sermon is dead. But doctrine is alive on the web. I plan to say more in the future about something I call the “Submergent Church.” It’s the best, brightest hope for the future of a true Bible-based faith.



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