When Christians disagree… priorities, challenges and imperatives
It’s a given. Christians disagree. Like pretty much everyone else, in fact. They always have. They always will. This side of the eschaton, that is.
So the issue is not whether or not we can avoid disagreement. The issue is whether or not we can disagree badly… or disagree well… This is what lay behind the recent 3-part sermon series given by Hugh Palmer at All Souls. And it deserves a wide airing in its entirety because it confronts some vital and little-appreciated issues.
Those looking for slam-dunk arguments about the case study of women in ministry (either way) will be disappointed – but in a sense that is precisely the point!
The three talks were as follows:
- I. When, not if, Christians Disagree (Reading: Romans 14:1-18)
- Discernment for the Hardliners
- Dangers for the Casual
Charles Simeon: in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity
- II. A Case Study: Women in Ministry (Readings: Acts 2:17-21 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15)
- The Test of Listening – the need to avoid labels and name-calling
- The Test of Scripture – the need to go back to the scriptures humbly (cf Article XX of the 39 Articles)
- The Test of Grace – questions to ask before breaking fellowship
- III. The Need for Love and Self-Control (Reading: Galatians 5:13-26)
- Love the person more than the argument
- Win the person more than the argument
- Love the Lord’s people, not the in-crowd
- To flee temptation to impatience and bitterness
- To implement the 3 Tests (above from II)
So I can’t recommend this series enough. It is highly nuanced (much more so even than this quick outline might suggest).
In passing, some may find the attached below helpful, a talk I gave at last January’s Partnership Sunday (and posted here) but now in a full transcript: