Posted in Christianity, Continuism, Division, Essentials, Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Grace, Non-Essentials, The Church, The Holy Spirit

A Reminder to Extend and Exhibit Grace When Differeing with a Brother or Sister in Christ on Non-essential Issues

To eisegete is human. To exegete is divine.–

This random thought just popped into my head, but I think it’s a valid point. While I make no excuse for eisegesis, it is a fact that b/c of how our brain works, we as humans, do this. To say that even the most devout of us exegetes’ do not read our positions and deeply held convictions into Scripture is false. I bring this up b/c of the appalling lackEMBRACE-GRACE_EXTEND-GRACE-1024x1024 of grace and mercy I see in those who hold themselves up or are so highly held up by others in their exegetecal pride that they fail to realize that what they so harshly accuse others of doing (eisegesis) is the very thing they do when they argue points of strong conviction that have nothing to do with the essential doctrines of our Christian faith or of Christ and His Gospel. In the end, a lot of it leads to “contending,” not for the faith, but for their strongly and deeply held views that some would deem ‘non-essentials’ or ‘secondary’ issues of the faith, which leads to “contending” with other genuine Christians, causing a great deal of “contention” w/in the body of Christ. This arrogance and lack of grace, love, and mercy under the guise of “truth” does not fool someone who is “walking [around] in the Spirit” (in other words, who is immersed in the Word of the Lord and of His Holy Spirit, who accomplishes the work of and speaks on behalf of Christ). I am in no way saying that there are not false teachers that need to be called out (even more so b/c of the growing number of them as the days grow short), but not every one who:

  • expresses themselves differently (goodness forbid that someone express themselves in a somewhat other manner than, shall we say, ‘dry,’ when it comes to writing and conveying about the Lord and what He has laid on their heart, for the Lord made us with different personalities and He uses that, whether we are more literal or more flowery in our speech and writing, to reach the lost for Him and disciple believers

or

  •  believes in continuanism

or

  • has genuinely experienced the gifts of the Holy Spirit

or

  • who loves to worship our Lord with unashamed abandon and with beautiful expression (whether of tears or of joy, whether of prostration or dancing)

is “false,” or not “a woman/man of God,” or is to be shunned, made fun of, branded with whether or not their doctrine is sound or questionable (or whether they are doctrinally sound or questionable), or spoken so vehemently against. Again, I am not saying don’t call out questionable or flat-out wrong doctrine. I am not saying don’t call out those who promote such doctrines under the guise of sound doctrine. I am not saying not to label those who do this false. What I AM saying is not to lump us wheat in with the tares, though we have to remain with them for a while.

Those who understand what I am saying will also understand that there is no use for me to go into a full list of explanations of what I mean and don’t mean just to appease those who have their doubts anyway or appease someone’s sick love for and preoccupation with quarrels and arguments. Some things are worth explaining and others are so simple to understand.

I am one hundered percent in favor of edifying, informative, congenial conversation in which there is an attempt to explain and understand, but in a world where everything must be micromanaged, including our explanations for everything, and everything must be explained INCLUDING those explanations for fear of offending someone or seeming to come across in a way not intended, I do not think there is any room in the body of Christ for such behavior, considering that by our fruits we will know each other, and that sharing the same Spirit, will understand one another w/out demonizing and subjecting each other to ridicule, even if we do not agree with each other regarding the point being discussed.

With that said, let us remember, as Augustine was said to have stated (I recently read there is research to suggest he did not say this exact statement but alluded to it and that someone else may have said it first), “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity,” (charity being another word for ‘grace’). What Augustine DID say though (and I will leave you with this) as he was writing to Januarius is:

There are other things, however, which are different in different places and countries, e.g., some fast on Saturday, others do not; some partake daily of the body and blood of Christ, others receive it on stated days: in some places no day passes without the sacrifice being offered; in others it is only on Saturday and the Lord’s day, or it may be only on the Lord’s day. In regard to these and all other variable observances which may be met anywhere, one is at liberty to comply with them or not as he chooses; and there is no better rule for the wise and serious Christian in this matter, than to conform to the practice which he finds prevailing in the Church to which it may be his lot to come. For such a custom, if it is clearly not contrary to the faith nor to sound morality, is to be held as a thing indifferent, and ought to be observed for the sake of fellowship with those among whom we live. (Letter 54: St. Augustine’s Reply to the Inquiries of Januarius, Book 1 of 2, paragraph 2, http://corinquietam.blogspot.com/2012/08/letter-54-st-augustines-reply-to.html )

While this is speaking specifically of practices and customs  observed differently within different churhes, it carries the conitation of attributing priority, urgency, and unity in that which is essential and agreed upon by all born-again believers in Christ, freedom in the non-essentials as subject to God’s Word, the Holy Spirit, your walk with Christ, and your conscience, and the edifying reminder to always extend grace to and treat graciously those who, while differing with you on a few things, agree with you on the central doctrines of our Christians faith, in Christ, in His Word, and in His Gospel, thus reminding you that you are to treat them like a brother or a sister in Christ b/c they ARE your brother and sister in Christ!:)

Overwhelmed by grace and appalled at the lack of it,

Jessica Laird

 

GRACE!

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