Yesterday I wrote a short blog post briefly outlining two biblical approaches to dealing with disagreement. I shared it online and it met with a flurry of response. One individual on the Facebook replied to me saying, “Jeff – you appear to consider the biblical methods that only appeal to you, while deliberately ignoring the more forceful methods the scriptures teach.”
He then listed for my edification: Romans 16: 17 – 18 , 2 John 1: 10 – 11 , and Matthew 7: 15 – 19 .
In one regard, my challenger is accurate – though not for the reason he believes. I did not consider every method. My very brief post was not intended to enumerate every verse of biblical instruction on this topic, but to treat (briefly) on two that are often disregarded. This was not a deliberate attempt to disregard some parts of scripture (as if that would make them disappear.) But since the challenge has been raised, let’s add to this list, that I and my interlocutor have begun, another biblical approach to dealing with disagreement within the ranks:
This one is found twice in the words of Jesus – though the different synoptic accounts largely overlap – in Mark 9: 38 – 39 and in Luke 9: 49 – 50.
The disciples saw some other fellows who were driving out demons in Jesus’ name. The driving out of demons was a large part of the good news of the kingdom that Jesus was preaching and his disciples, who were close to him, who had spent a lot of time in his presence, felt that they needed to protect their proprietary brand of that gospel.
“We saw some other driving out demons in your name – but we told them to stop because they’re not part of our group.”
To which Jesus answered: “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me,” (in Mark’s version) or “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you” (in Luke’s – New Revised Standard Version).
Within the ranks of our Salvation Army officers and soldiers and adherents, there are a number of scriptural issues that are being debated. But let’s not allow a defensive sense of proprietary ownership of our brand of the gospel blind us the good work of the gospel where it is being done – Is the good news being preached (whosoever will may be saved…) are human needs being met in Jesus name without discrimination…even by those who may not be part of “our group”? If so, then perhaps our disagreement should be put aside.
This post has been edited to be somewhat less inflammatory. -