Sure, I’m bothered that we parted like this. He’s a great guy, and I believe he loves the people he serves. However, this experience taught me a few things.
1) DON’T PUT THE “MAN” BOOK BEFORE THE “GOD” BOOK – I’m not against books. I love books. Men of God need to be readers, but we also need to know when something doesn’t sound right. This kind of discernment comes from reading and studying THE book, God’s Word. There are good authors out there, but make sure that you compare what they have to say to the Bible. The scriptures are authoritative, not the writings of some pastor. By the way, that includes this blog post!!!
2) DON’T “LUMP THE LOT” – The more I thought about the comments which were sent to me, the more I struggled to understand why the author wrote them. Could it be that the author had some hyper-fringe group in mind when he wrote his remarks? Possibly. If so, for as many years as I stood with the position he lumped together, I have never heard the likes of what he wrote. Lumping the lot is akin to calling all non Muslims, Christians, and we know that not all Christians are actual Christians.
3) CONSULT THE HORSE – Yes, you read that right. When we want to know what the other side believes, get it from one who believes it, not from someone who doesn’t. In other words, get it from the horse’s mouth. If I believe something to be true, I will try to get you to believe it too. However, if I don’t believe something to be true, I will try to prove to you why, BUT this puts the pressure on me to make sure that what I say to you is absolutely right.
4) REMIND YOURSELF THAT WE ALL HAVE BLIND SPOTS – That means that no one has one hundred percent discernment. We all have blind spots. My blind spots are not your blind spots, and yours may not be mine, and that is precisely why we need each other. There are a number of denominations and independent organizations which are sound in fundamental doctrine, but we may all have different non essential beliefs. I don’t totally agree with Presbyterians, but my Christian brothers and sisters who support Presbyterian churches are not my enemies.
5) TAKE A BEATING FOR CHRIST SAKE - There was a day when the wounds of a friend were considered “faithful”. I’m not always right. I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again. I’m not stupid, but I could be ignorant at times. May I say that I am indebted to those who proved my ignorance, and set me straight when I needed it? There are many ways to learn. We can be reproved, rebuked, or exhorted. Being reproved hurts more than being exhorted, but let’s be tough and take it.
I may have lost a friend, but every experience, good or bad, works its way for good to them that love God. It works that way for me and my friend. We fall and fail, hurt and hunger for help, but all of it works its way for good somewhere, sometime.
I would love your thoughts on this.