In Non-Essentials, Charity

Great couple paragraphs on how to live in charity with other Christians with whom we disagree


A sampling:

"The Bible tells us to strive to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3). The many aspects of this require much thought, study and work. One particularly important area is the important distinction between principles and methods....

"Contemporary examples are almost endless. The principle is that Christian parents must provide their children with a biblical education. The methods vary -- homeschooling, Christian private school, co-ops, Internet tutorials, etc. The principle is that Christian mothers must feed their children. Methods vary -- schedule feeding or not, bottle feeding or not, etc. The principle is that we are to be good stewards of our bodies. The methods vary -- workout or not, jog or not, eat salted grease or not, etc. The principle is that children are a blessing from the Lord. The methods vary -- birth control, no birth control, etc. The principle is that modesty is a virtue for Christian women. The methods vary -- makeup, no makeup, jewelry, minimal jewelry, no jewelry with feathers, etc.... Our temptation is to reason from right to left in an improper fashion. If they were really committed to this principle, then they would . . .

"Are you fully convinced on whatever the issues are? That, in itself (assuming you are right), is good (v. 5). But if there is any occasion for troubling others for whom Christ died, then you should keep your supremely correct convictions to yourself. At the same time, know your own heart -- there are many ways to steer a conversation into troubled waters without overt comments. "I don't know why she got so defensive. All I did was . . ." We must pray for a love of peace, and strive for humility of mind. And we should remember that one of the clearest indicators that someone really is correct on an issue like this is that he has the ability to keep it to himself. The more imperialistic a brother is, insistent that being correct is very important, the more likely it is that he cannot hold it in. And the more likely it is that he is factually wrong on top of all his evangelistic fervor. It is far easier to trouble the saints with errors than with the truth."

-Douglas Wilson

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