During a History of Christian Spirituality class that I was in recently, the professor spent some time talking through the disposition of the first Europeans who arrived in the Americas. It was the first time that I heard that the first settlers wanted to come to the Americas for a short time, perfect what they felt was the “right religion” (practice and theology) and then return to Europe to help save all of the “backslidders” from their fallen ways.
Perhaps their disposition stayed, also.
Somewhere in the soil of the American church is the desire to make a right religion.
So what happens when we are trying to find the right religion and others are trying to do the same and they are doing things differently than us?
Can two people have it right?
Not if Twitter is around, I guess.
One of the temptations that we have as believers is being too eager to call someone else wrong and leaving our own issues unchecked and too easily justified. Our faults are often hidden from us, in plain sight.
Though the Bible does call individuals to check teachers for sound doctrine, it does seem like anyone with a Facebook page or blog feels that they have the manifest destiny to go ahead and make authoritative judgments about teachers without taking the time to read and search long enough to make a complete call on it. We simply don’t like them, or the people we like don’t like them so we just follow the leader. We need to really think about the imprint it makes when we call someone “deceived” and “a heretic”. We should really consider if it is truly our call in the first place.
The truth is, among the Christian crowd, we have a lot more in common than we have in disagreement. The issues that we regularly disagree on are not worth the ferocity that is normally expressed in the “back and forth.” Remember when we first became Christians? During those first few days, did we ever think that we’d spend as much time as we do worrying about someone else’s nuance on Atonement? We probably focused more upon how we could honor God with our life and to love others, to help move them along, regardless of their view of the millennium.