I have many friends in many different denominations, networks, and streams of the body of Christ. I also travel in many different circles that believe some things differently than I do. I have friends that emphasize faith, some that emphasize grace, others emphasize keeping the law, some who emphasize covenants, and some who emphasize the Kingdom as well as those who focus on Jesus. Some others who focus on fathering and sonship, while others focus on disciples and mentors as well as coaching and students and some who emphasize prayer and spiritual warfare. Also some who embrace a rapture and some that do not, some who believe that the tribulation is in the past and some who believe it is still in the future. Some of my friends have different views on heaven and hell, and some have different ways of viewing the atonement, while some interpret scripture from different systems and paradigms.
I also have some friends who believe strongly that salvation is by grace through faith and some that believe that after the cross all are now born in Christ whether they believe or not, and that believing does not make it true, but that you believe because it is already true. I also have friends who believe in the infallibility and innerrancy of the scriptures and some who believe that the scriptures are inspired, but not perfect or without error with many contradictions. I have others who call the gospel of grace the gospel, while others call the gospel of the Kingdom the gospel, while others main focus is on the gospel of peace. I have some that view the gifts of the Spirit as passed with the apostles and some who embrace that they are all still functioning, and some who believe that the 5-fold ministry is for today and some who do not. I have others who are peace loving pacifists and some who want peace but love their guns and nationalism. I have friends who are Democrats and some who are Republicans and some who are a mish-mash of political beliefs lol.
Many of my friends have different ways of doing church (ecclesiology) and different views of the last days (eschatology), as well as their views of the Holy Spirit (Pneumatology). Some others have a different view of the purpose of salvation (Soteriology).Yet they are still my friends.
I say all that to let all of you know that none of those things are going to disqualify them from fellowship with me, because none of those things are dis-qualifiers according to 1,500-2,000 years of Orthodox Christianity. Your view of the "last days" or of "hell" or of the "infallibility of the bible" are not a qualifier in scripture for salvation or for fellowship, yet we will fight over and over again about these things, rather then just give each other grace in our journeys to grow and to learn.
However, for some reason many people are afraid to have a discussion with someone who believes differently than they do especially many leaders who tend to fight over the idea that their journey and indoctrination is superior to someone else. The body of Christ at least in the Charismatic wing has almost made fun of critical thinking and scholasticism and it shows in a lot of our churches that seem to produce more minions than mature son's of God. I have been demonized and ostracized by a few different groups for not just what I believe that is different from them, but also my associations with people they view as being in error in some area's, but who still embrace the basis of the gospel and what Christianity is.
I wish we could all be mature enough to stop throwing spears at each other and actually dialogue and discuss rather than call names and start labeling, which is so childish. I see way to many books, articles, and posts just saying nananabooboo to others and treating each other like they are not brothers and followers of Jesus and then ultimately become accusers of the brethren themselves. So I want to go on record and let all of my friends and anyone else reading this know that this year I will not be participating in the judging and attacking of someone else's journey and instead will pray that we all will walk in the truth who is Jesus, and manifest His love regardless of our differences.
We are all on a journey and our beliefs should be constantly being challenged if we are growing, and if not then we are stuck and stagnant. Whenever an American Indian would want to speak a curse on someone they would say," May you always stay in the same place". Their idea of the worst thing they could curse you with was a life of stagnancy and lethargy. The reformers had a saying that they lived by," reformed and always reforming", may that be our desire, so that we never stop progressing on our journey. God loves diversity and He embraces our unique flavors and differences even though we fight over them and yet He is still patient with us on our journeys. So remember that a friend loves at ALL times and not just when they agree with you. Have an awesome week everyone, love you all!