When We Differ Biblically and Theologically


The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone. 2 Tim. 2:24

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Gal. 5:14-15 (NIV)

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 1 Cor. 13:9-10 (ESV)

Heavenly Father, there are many reasons I’m looking forward to life in the new heaven and new earth. And though it’s not at the top of my list, unity and no more theological spats among your children is up there. Surely it must grieve when we build walls and lob theological grenades at one another, because we don’t see every passage of the Bible the same way.

Robust theological dialogue is one thing; mean-spirited diatribe is quite another. Defending the gospel is a major calling; being arrogant about our understanding of the Bible, your Spirit’s work, and the Christian life is not. Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy. On most Sundays, the color of our skin, our preferred worship styles, and the nuances of our theological tribe separate us. How can this be okay?

O for the Day when we will no longer know in part or love in part—the Day when we will no longer label, dismiss, or marginalize one another… just because we don’t cross every theological “t” the same way.

Father, have mercy on me. Please forgive me when I’m concerned about rightness to the exception of kindness. Forgive me for relating to my own theological tribe in ingrown, college-fraternity, club-like ways. Forgive me for defending sovereign grace ungraciously.

Forgive me for ever justifying the attitude: “I get the gospel much better than they do.” Teach me more about Jesus, the gospel, and your kingdom through those who are different from me. Give me a bigger heart and more humility, Father. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name.