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January 5, 2018


I am working on a sermon series in 1 Corinthians.  It strikes me that one of the key themes in the book is a call to oneness.  The Corinthian church was in many ways a divided church.  They were divided over who was the best Bible teacher.  They were divided over who had the better spiritual gifts. They were divided because of lawsuits.  They were divided between the wealthy and the poor.  They were divided over issues of morality.  They were divided over the proper way to conduct a worship service.   You name it and it seems they were divided over it.

It is one thing to have differences and distinctions.  But it is quite another to draw “lines in the sand” and offer absolutely no room for compromise or healthy conversation.  This is especially true when we draw lines that God has not drawn.  A former professor once told me that the older he got, the smaller his list of “things to die for” became.  I am finding that very true in my own life.  I am finding the list of things and even some once held doctrines, are maybe not as important as I originally thought.  Before those who know me freak out, let me assure you that I am still deeply committed to the deity of Christ, and the authority of Scripture, and the fact that salvation based on one’s faith in Jesus and that alone, and the basic tenets of the Christian faith.  


That being said, I continue to work to be defined by what I am for, instead of what I am against.  It strikes me, and I know I am not the first to make the observation, that when any of us draw strict lines to define what we are against, we tend to expend much more time and energy maintaining those lines, than we do in accurately representing the person and character of Jesus.  I go back time and again to that fact that Jesus reserved his harshest words for those who, in an attempt to protect truth, ended up drawing such thick lines of separation that they lost sight of the truth they sought to protect (see Matthew 23).  Maybe that is why I am so sensitive to the reality of the divisions in the Corinthian church and how that theme relates to us in the 21st Century.  

As I study 1 Corinthians again, I am asking myself the following questions:

  • What lines have I drawn in my life?  
  • Are those lines clearly drawn in the Bible?  
  • Does the effort I spend defining and defending my lines take away from or enhance my learning to love God with all my being and love my neighbor as myself?
  •  Do I have the courage to erase a line and admit it was not a right position to hold?

Just some things I am thinking about these days.

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