How ought brothers in Christ disagree?

I was asked a couple of questions recently regarding unity and how I believe we ought to pursue it in regards to the Church of Christ. Since these questions cut to the heart of many of the struggles that occur in the body of Christ (unfortunately, often in the name of Christ) I figured I’d share them here. Enjoy!

“Do you affirm that unity is not to come at the expense of truth?”

I think this is a red herring as people can disagree on various theological points and still remain united by their commitment to Christ. Further, I find the very question here to be an implicit concession of my point above regarding the Calvinist tendency to treat the ideological position as of primary importance (something, I might add, which is also carried over into too many Churches) rather than our common commitment to Christ.

In other words, you are not a sum of your ideas and your value is not derived by adding up all of your ideas and subtracting the bad ones.

Our commitment to Christ and each other IN Christ is not predicated on our possession of right doctrine.

“Do you affirm that we can disagree and yet have unity?”

Are you asking if we can disagree and still remained united in our commitment to Christ? If so the sure, I don’t see why not. That is, as long as you DO place your commitment to our common Lord and Saviour as of primary importance.

Before you stroke out at my above statements or attempt to reply with the oft-used but seldom-understood refrain of “postmodernist!” let me hasten to add that I’m not saying that objective truth doesn’t exist or matter or that we ought not to vigorously state and defend our respective theologies.

All I’m saying is that past the very basic confessional creed laid out in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 (also captured in the ΙΧΘΥΣ acrostic) we have no reason to attempt and throw others out of a body and bride that is not our own.

In regard to camps, I try very hard not to have one so I find your question regarding “my camp” to be pretty spurious at best. If you are asking if there are non-calvinists who have acted poorly, then my answer would have to be yes. Even I have failed to attain to the ideal of unity Christ commanded us to uphold. However the beauty of the Christian message is redemption so my continued hope (no matter how dismal or unattainable it may seem at times) is that we would stop stabbing each other in the back (which includes trying to throw each other out of the Body of Christ) and work towards what Jesus told us would be a sign to the nations that He was sent into the world (what Schaeffer called “the final apologetic”).

In our search for unity, we need to give up the common refrain of “well you are coming from a philosophical position whereas I am coming from a _Biblical_ position” argument. If we can agree to forgo such infantile arguments or lines of thought then, and only then, will our conversations and debates become more fruitful than a mud slinging competition.


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