Guest blogger: Get some historical perspective and be patient as we sort out doctrinal differences

Thanks to Laura Roberts, from Louisville, KY, for giving me permission to repost her Facebook Statue Update as a guest blog post:

You know, it's funny: those who study church history are often pretty philosophical about how long it took the church to settle disputes about this or that -- we say things like "only a generation" or "within the lifetime of" and things like that, which indicate 40, 50, 60 years. But so many of us are incredibly impatient about the disputes of the modern church, and so much more pessimistic, as though the disagreements we've had in the last 60 or so years spell disaster and doom.

Friends, let's try to remember: the earliest Christians were debating whether or not Jesus was God, surely a more fundamental issue than what some of our quarrels land on today, and they made it through, because GOD IS FAITHFUL and the preservation of his church is HIS JOB. If the folks in those first-century churches were kept, it was by God's power. He holds his own, and keeps them even when they are confused or in doubt -- praise God! We can contend for the gospel without being contentious, trusting that God will preserve his own people in the truth, and approaching all disagreements with a gospel philosophy, believing that God has saved and kept us in spite of our own blind spots.

A God who can save and keep both Philemon AND Onesimus, both Peter AND Paul, both Elizabeth AND the woman at the well, is a God who is able to save and keep the law-breaker and the law-truster, the conservative and the liberal, the traditionalist and the progressive -- perhaps even by making them more like one another, drawing them towards each other in life-giving love, crafting one new man out of the old, dead, divided one.

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