Recently I have been responding to a post from The Gospel Coalition’s website titled, “When Should Doctrine Divide?” Gavin Ortlund gives us four guiding questions to ask ourselves before we work with other churches.
- What kind of partnership or unity is in view?
- What kind of partnership or unity will best serve to advance the gospel?
- Do I naturally lean toward a separatist or minimalistic spirit?
- Even when I must formally divide from other Christians, is the attitude of my heart gracious, humble, and inviting toward them?
I’ve previously talked about the first two. Here are the final questions.
Do I naturally lean toward a separatist or minimalistic spirit?
This is a question that you need to ask yourself. We each have our own tendencies towards minimalizing doctrine in order to appease those around us, or, making our beliefs a matter of contention and a means of separating ourselves from others.
Do you strive to live peaceably with everybody? Or do you find areas of contention and hammer out your 5 point argument why you are right?
Do you speak the truth in love? Or do you avoid speaking the truth in order to not offend?
Examine yourself against the Lord himself, who still ate and drank with both sinners and Pharisees alike.
Even when I must formally divide from other Christians, is the attitude of my heart gracious, humble, and inviting toward them? There comes a point in our Christian lives when we do have to separate in order to keep the peace. But, when we do part ways, we want to be as gracious and loving to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Never should our doctrines and traditions move us to hate, to belittle, or to minimize one’s standing with Jesus Christ.
If we continuously ask ourselves these four questions I believe that we will stay on the path of loving our neighbour and our God as we look to partner with each other in this dark world.