More and more (at least in the circles I move in) people seem to be intent onmaking the faith EXclusive: "unles you believe/practise X,Y,Z you are probably a heretic, or at best a very weak christian who hasn't fully submitted themselves to what the scriptures say" Who exalted us to set the boundary markers according to the limits of our own understanding? Yes, there are absolutes: truth is truth, right is right and sin is sin -- but within the boundaries which God has set up (which we all step across every day and need to come back inside them again-- it's called repentance) there is plenty of room to move. there is room for you to dance in that corner and you to kneel silently silently in that one, there is room for many different kinds of music which genuinely inspire different people to worship in spirit and in truth, there is room for the evangelist and the social worker and the preacher and the contemplative, there is room for many different perspectives and approaches to key doctrinal issues (eg justification, baptism, theology of the church etc etc). On some of those things I will have strong views, on some of them you will have strong views, and we must each do what we believe is right according to the grace given us, for "whatever is not of faith is sin". But even where our understandings divide us, surely we can see that it is Jesus Himself who unites us, that just because hands do things one way, and livers another and eyes a third etc etc does not stop us from all being parts of one body. Unity was never meant to be based on uniformity; unity is based on love, and the absolute wonder that the Holy Spirit is at work in someone so different from myself, turning dross into gold and making beauty from ashes, just as He is doing in my life! We pilgrims come from many different directions, but as we continue to move towards Jesus, inevitably we are brought closer to one another. but some people, tragically, prefer intellectual arrogance to inclusive love.
He drew a circle that shut me out--
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!"
Outwitted" by Edwin Markham