In his book Grace Awakening, Chuck Swindoll tells the following true story:
The pastor of a church in a different denomination contacted the pastor of a large downtown Baptist church and made an unusual request. He had several folks who had recently joined his church who preferred to be baptized by immersion rather than by sprinkling, the church’s normal mode of baptism. The pastor requested not only the use of their baptistry but that the Baptist pastor himself baptize those who came. This posed a dilemma-what if those being baptized weren’t born again? Since it was the pastor’s conviction that only Christians should be baptized, he realized he couldn’t with good conscience cooperate with the plan, but he wished to handle his answer with tact so as not to offend the other pastors. He wrote a letter, a masterpiece of grace, in which he included this humorous statement: “We don’t take in laundry, but we’ll loan you our tub.” (p.173-174)
Yeah, I chuckled. Doesn’t take much to do that. Not everyone would have handled it with such grace. Some are itching for a fight, or a way to get their “agenda” known. Some are not filled with grace. You know the old adage: “Us 4/ no more/ shut the door.” I once served a church (for a very short time) whose moniker was “We are right; you are wrong; and we will argue with you about it.” No joke. Needless to say I didn’t stay there very long, especially after I told them they were perceived that way in town. When they said, “It’s true” I knew it was time to hightail it out of Dodge.
Anyway, there will always be churches that clash. Sadder to me is when people clash. And…wonder of all wonders…people will clash. Far be it from some people to miss a good fight or argument. The Scripture I am using Sunday shows some raw emotion being displayed by two men of God. They clashed. They split & went their own way. But ultimately made up and the subject of their disagreement became useful to Paul in his ministry. I love second chances!
What is your reaction when disagreements arise? Do you firmly stand your ground? I’m talking about ideas and personalities not doctrinal issues. Have you seen others split from disagreements? Did it break your heart? Have you ever split and then “made up?’ Have a great weekend.