Christ Fellowship of Kansas City issued a paper (cited by Jim Elliff) on How We Use Our Statement of Faith. In a recent blog I began an analysis and today continue to respond to this wise counsel.
2. We may invite guest speakers who do not agree with every point of doctrine in our statement of faith. There are many faithful ministers of the Word who do not hold to the exact expression of our convictions. Though our statement will guide us in selecting those we choose for guest speaking, it will not preclude those who are in complete agreement in the most basic areas, while differing somewhat on secondary issues.
A few brief comments…..
1) “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.” – Augustine’s quote is thought-provoking. What would you list under essentials? What would you consider non-essential? How do you manifest charity in all things?
2) “Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,…” 2 Timothy 2:25 Paul, a foundation-laying apostle of the church (Ephesians 2:20) calls for a gentle instruction even to our most vigorous opponents. We are not called to “straighten” anyone out, but rather provide gentle instruction. How easy to allow an angry tone, a sarcastic cynical attitude in our teaching. “We’re right. We have this truth all figured out. Too bad you weren’t as wise as we are….” Jesus Christ himself reminded Peter that his insight (in Matthew 16) came from a revelation of the Father, and not from flesh and blood. If we have been granted deeper insight by God, demonstrate wisdom and thank God for what you have learned. Engage others graciously and you may actually find they will grant you a hearing to share your profound insights.
3) On several occasions in my own ministry, including last Saturday at a GTA church, I have discovered other faithful ministers of the Word. I agree whole-heartedly with this Christ Fellowship statement that we do not have to dot all the same theological points in order to have fellowship. I sense the same spirit with The Gospel Coalition and Together For the Gospel. Sadly, many leaders who affirm “grace” so loudly in their doctrinal convictions provide little evidence of that same grace in their conduct. May God grant us wisdom to be leaders marked by grace!