Why our tone, attitude, and characterizing of one another matters

Theological disagreement in the Body of Christ matters. It presents the perfect opportunity to actually live in the way of the resurrected Jesus. Unfortunately, that isn’t what usually happens.

There is a vein of Christianity in which monitoring fellow siblings in Christ for right belief seems to be given utmost priority. Ironically, it is not uncommon to encounter assumptions, rudeness, sarcasm, harsh language, and outright accusation towards those deemed to be in error. In today’s context of far-reaching social communication, such responses flood the public square, regardless of whether there is personal relationship between the one assumed to be in error or not. And surely, the public square is an appropriate place to consider ideas, to raise questions, offer counter arguments or insights, cite those with years of experience, training, and wisdom, and articulate the significance of pursuing the truest understanding of God’s heart. It is, however, the erasure of boundary between robust examination of ideas and positions and the interpersonal sparring and wounding that I wish to address.


Support via photopin (license)

Support via photopin (license)


In my arena of ministry, I will not see uniformity of theological perspective in my lifetime. I could be wrong – but I feel fairly confident in making this assertion. For the rest of my natural life, there will be followers of Jesus seeking to honour the Scriptures who either believe sexual intimacy within the covenant of same-sex marriage to be sinful or not sinful. Given this reality, I have focused my energies in my work with the Body of Christ on this question, “How now shall we live together with this difference?” And while I inevitably have come to my own sense of conviction on the matter after many prayerful years of listening, study, and reflection, I think it is more important to encourage the church to learn ways of navigating these differences in a manner that respects the other than it is to try to convince people to see, think, belief and act in the manner that I have come to believe is most consistent with God’s heart.  As an aside, it seems to be VERY hard for some people to grasp this idea. The unity of the church, which Jesus ties directly to our public witness, is more important to me than everyone believing just like I do. Why? Well, I don’t have a perfect pipeline to God – and even though I believe I have been diligent and submitted to the Spirit in my pr