1 Corinthians 1:10-17 – “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. 16 Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.” NASU
Most of the time I do not have a significant problem with people following different elements within the Body of Christ as their primary worship center or foundation of faith and practice! That being said, sometimes I wonder how the heart of God is grieved when we separate, alienate, and seek to annihilate others from differing denominations over schisms and points of faith because we believe that we and we alone are right and they are not only wrong but heretical in their beliefs.
I do not expect everyone to believe exactly what I believe but I do ask that we seek to believe what the Bible teaches and allow the Word of God to be the true and final interpreter of God’s Tenets and Truths. Paul exhorted the Church in Corinth along these lines urging them to settle or move away from divisions and schisms which were not only points of disagreement but points of separation doing damage to the efforts of the fledgling Church of Jesus Christ. He went through his list of people identifying with a particular personality, as their argument and basis for their rightness. That is no different than the hordes of people who not just proudly but divisively declare, “I’m this or that” regarding a particular denomination or non-denominational denomination.
A number of years ago the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, “You are too exclusive and not open to some outside your group or groups and I want to use them to speak to you.” I attended some conferences and meetings where men and women were speaking things that in the past I had severely criticized as being in gross error. The Holy Spirit instructed me to LISTEN and that in doing so I would find more to applaud than to criticize. One of the main speakers preached a message that so stirred my heart I developed several series from his message because God had used him to speak a truth to my heart that in a very real way changed my outlook on many things. The church he was leading and a part of were putting the principles of the gospel in practice and while I still do not agree with all he taught I will allow the Holy Spirit to speak to me through whatever means He chooses.
I realize that some will say that I am compromising my faith and I hope that is incorrect. I do not excuse or wink at sin nor will I sit silently when I hear what I believe to be heresy taught, at least not silent with those whom I have any influence or responsibility. I will separate the message from the messenger and identify what I believe the Bible says while refusing to focus on the personality. If that is compromise then I guess I am guilty but in my desire to do what the Spirit of God instructed me I will follow this practice and ask you to disagree disagreeably if you choose. I ascribe to the idea, “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity.” There are some things that are foundational such as the virgin birth of Jesus, the truth that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that He is the only access to the Father. The Blood of Jesus is not just important but essential. It is by Grace that we are saved. It is by the blood of Jesus that we are cleansed. There are essentials and in those we need unity.
May God be with you as you go through your day!