Sunday, August 21, 2011

Christian Unity and Boundaries in Christian Fellowship, Part 9 – Summation(?)

This series of posts hasn't been so much a linear path from Point A to Point Z as an exploration of the domain of A. As pointed out in the previous post – possibly in more practical terms – the Law of Non-Contradiction means that when the domain of A is understood, all that is within that domain is “A”, and that which is outside of that domain is “non-A”. Thus, those who believe those things fundamental to the Christian faith are, within my limited knowledge, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Those who reject fundamental things may be perfectly nice people to be around, but are not (subject to the same qualification) Christians.

This means that believers sometimes face seemingly odd choices. Some of my Christian brethren and sisteren have some really rough and sharp edges! And, sadly, I've probably left more than a few scratches and dents on fellow Christians, and even more sadly, probably more than I know! And there are some genuinely nice, smart, talented people who are not Christian believers, which has eternal consequences. Truth is not sway-able or changeable on the basis of my personal emotions or likes and dislikes.

Consequently, I've had (and enjoyed) Christian fellowship with some really rough edged people. It is my duty to them and to the Lord to be in fellowship with them to the degree that is practical. Perchance the Lord may use me to help smooth some of their rough spots (and/or they may be used to work on with my rough spots!) . Maybe that is something Paul had in mind:

On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. (1 Cor. 12:22-25, ESV)

The other side of this coin is that there are areas of my life, my spiritual life, that a non-believer cannot fully understand. That's not a bar to being a friend or to being kind, which I should be where/when reasonably possible. It just means that there is no basis for Christian fellowship.

So there's no nice eloquent wrap-up, no grand moral conclusion. I'm just saying that this pretty much sums up where I stand. If love seems missing, it isn't. Loving persons intelligently – knowing how best to be their brother or friend – starts with knowing who they are, as a person and spiritually.

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