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Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Few More Biblical Approaches to Dealing with Disagreement within the Ranks

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. - 


  1. I see it seems safer for you to blog your reactions rather than deal with them openly in the thread where the challenges are posted for more than 17,000 members can read them freely.

    1. You mean this blog - which is available to anyone and everyone - which I have shared in that forum - you mean this very private and hidden blog?

      Do you mean to accuse me of being secretive - when I have commented and replied to your comments elsewhere? That is farcical.

    2. Checking the time stamps on your responses - here and in the other forum (where I shared this post) - it seems that you posted your comment here AFTER responding to me in the forum. (Unless the time stamps are inaccurate) How can you make this accusation?

  2. Just what is your aim here Jeff? To serve as a wedge in the ranks of the Army? To divide and conquered territory with your clever craftsmanship of words? I am merely holding you accountable to the very Word you claim to teach and preach by.

    My challenge to you was to not ignore the very pointed passages of Scripture which address false teaching in the body of Christ.

    You cannot claim to have any merit on accurate biblical interpretation while claiming that there are countless ways to reduce its principles to mere subjectivism. What is Truth that should set men free if it cannot be discerned from error?

    And what place does sin have in the body of Christ? This is precisely what our founder wanted of in the days to come when he said, "the chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell."

    1. Strange that you read my articles about unity (in spite of disagreement) as an attempt to divide.


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