"And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold." - Matt 24:12
We hear much in the news about tensions in the Middle East or between the U.S. and Russia. All over the news, the rhetoric between the political right and left is heating up. It seems that in every sphere of life, people are dividing into camps and separating from others at an unprecedented rate.
Even in the church, factions are springing up and hostilities are on the rise between believers who disagree on grey areas of biblical understanding -- where the Bible is not black and white. Social media has become rather unsociable.
Old earth creationists and new earth creationists bicker and villainize each other. Pre-wrath rapturists and post-tribbers ridicule pre-tribbers and insult their intelligence --- and vice-a-versa. King James-Only adherents belittle all those who read modern versions of the Bible. Hyper-Grace name-call believers who promote moral purity, labeling them as legalists and pietists. I could go on and on.
The arguing back and forth has sent many Christians into isolation where they can be alone with just the Bible, free of controversy. Alone with God’s Word to find encouragement, faith, hope, and spiritual salve for festering wounds inflicted by well-meaning brothers in Christ.
As the prophesied rise in persecution of those who name the name of Christ heats up, somehow denominations and institutions and their creeds fly out the window. When a man cries out to Jesus, while a terrorist saws off his head, whether he has all his doctrine in order pales under the circumstance. He, just by his new nature, as who he is, in childlike faith calls on the name above all names (but don’t argue whether that name is Jesus Christ or Yeshua Hamashiach) to receive him into His Kingdom with his last breath.
Jesus rebuked the Jewish leaders for laying heavy burdens upon the people. Are we doing the same thing when we expect all Christians to be as advanced in Bible knowledge as we think we are? The Apostle Paul wrote:
“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.” - Rom 14:1
It’s time to re-examine our tone when contending for the faith. We cannot give up on instructing the younger believers or reasoning with those in opposition. But we must do so without judging the other person’s standing in Christ. Each follower of Jesus is on a different place along the narrow road -- some are stragglers.
In the Christian classic, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” a character named ‘Little Faith’ is introduced who loses much based on his poor decisions -- but he makes it to his journey’s end in spite of his lack of knowledge. We must make sure we are a help to such pilgrims, and not a hindrance.
“I will hear what God the LORD will speak,
For He will speak peace
To His people and to His saints;
But let them not turn back to folly.
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
And righteousness shall look down from heaven.”
-- Ps 85:8-11
And a song for “Little Faith.”