There are lots of people within the Church today who disagree on lots of things. And that’s okay. That’s natural. That’s human.
What’s not okay is that many of those people don’t know how to disagree. Or, more accurately, many people don’t know how to go about the process of disagreeing in a way that offers mutual respect and maintains the unity of the Church. Such people often look at disagreements as opportunities to pounce, sneer, control, and win.
I am one of those people, by the way. I have a lot of strong opinions and ideas about things – theological and otherwise – and I usually get all amped up when I come across someone who disagrees with me. I view it as a chance to win a debate rather than be sharpened. Or, sometimes I come across blog posts or Facebook updates or tweets where someone makes a bold declaration about what they believe, and then my first thought is: How can I squeeze a snarky comeback into 140 characters?
Ephesians 4:15 is the Scripture verse that usually gets thrown around in these kinds of situations: “But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head – Christ.” Honestly, though, I don’t know what that looks like. I haven’t seen that modeled very often in my life – at church or school, at work or at home.
That’s why I was excited to see this blog exchange between Pete Wilson and Jared C. Wilson. (I don’t think they’re related.) Pete is a young pastor of a big and influential church here in Nashville, and Jared is a big-time successful author (Seven Deadly Sins, anyone?). Apparently, they disagree about something. Or many things. But they, at least, seem to have a better understanding than me on how to go about the process of that disagreement.
If you’re like me and you have trouble engaging others in a “Christian” way when you don’t agree with them, then I highly recommend you read up on their exchange. It will be enlightening and encouraging.
If you’re not like me and you already know how to disagree in a way that maintains unity and honors Christ, then please take a minute or two and jot down some ideas in the Comments section. We need them.