There is a thin line between transformation and mockery. Transformation begins with the dissonant awareness of a big problem. The problem is an obstacle, a real bear. And working through the dissonance causes us to enter a process toward the solution that will change us, change our perspective, and influence through us our world.
A pastor friend said to me years ago that he pastored a bunch of Corinthians. How do you mean, I asked, finding the parallel humorous. He noted that his congregation was full of gifted people who had to be regularly reminded of their boundaries in Christ. Or better yet, they needed reminding of the terms of their liberty in Christ. Apostle Paul made an appeal to the Corinthian church in his first letter: avoid divisions.
Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.1 Corinthians 1:10 NASB
Is Christ divided, Paul asked the Corinthians. We may want to say no, but sadly, the answer may be yes. I don’t want to fuss at the complainers. What good has that done us anyway?
I want to offer us a reminder. Jesus was solutions driven. He gave us a commission. Go. Proclaim and preach the Gospel. Make disciples. Baptize. Teach to obey. These are things about which we fundamentally agree. Our issue though is the how. How do we go? Or, in some circles, how are we sent? Who gets to preach and what is a sound message? Who gets to disciple? To baptize? Who is credible to teach?
There is a schism, a division in the current day church. They are the reformers intended. They read voraciously and bring back to us the revelations en masse of our errors in the body of Christ. They are the living, breathing ministry of correction to the rest of us. They rehearse again and again what needs to be changed in the church. Only rarely does one realize that they can model the answer or solution and in being the example, be used greatly with Holy Spirit to usher in the kinds of inquiry and searching that lead to transformation.
Mock us, or teach us? I find that this answer may not be an obvious one. Joke about our traditions and summarily denounce what may help some in the name of personal liberty? Or, present the alternative from a studied and enlightened perspective? Often the rebuttal points to the controversy of Jesus’ ministry and the requisite willingness of the reformers intended to be scandalous in their rebukes.
One thing though. Jesus did not set out to offend or be controversial. He set out to preach the kingdom.
Reformers, I implore you. Much of where you stand on points of doctrine, tradition, and error, has agreement throughout the body of Christ. If Holy Spirit revealed to you a more excellent way, then please, share it with us. Prepare and teach us. Present your revelation with purity of heart and motive. After all, the body is fitly joined together. We cannot cut off or disregard the parts that displease us.
We can heed the wisdom of the first psalm in our daily lives. We can create opportunities for learning and understanding, be the example, and lead the way to solutions.
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2 But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.Psalm 1:1-2 NLT
Dr. Shaunta D. Scroggins is the lead contributor for The Bereans’ Commentary.
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