Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 2 Timothy 14
Paul is not telling us that as Christians we need to adopt a “go along to get along” attitude. If we see teachings or practices in our church that go against God’s Word then we must confront the issue. But that confrontation needs to be in love. We need to point out the error and show the offender God’s truth.
What we are not supposed to do is quarrel over things. And we especially need to not quarrel over little things that I like to categorize as “color of the carpet” issues. These are things that have nothing to do with Biblical doctrines or issues on which God’s Word is silent. They are issues that amount to personal preference. One example is should the pastor wear vestments or a suite or maybe jeans. These types of issues need to be decided as a church body but once again they need to be decided in love. Yet it is exactly these types of issues that seem to divide churches today.
The days of division along doctrinal issues seems to be for the most part past us. Today we are more likely to divide over what music the music minister chooses or if we should raise our hands while we worship or leave them by our sides. Sometimes we just need to let things go. If I don’t like a certain song, maybe I should just sing along realizing that one I do like is coming up. If the person next to me wants to keep their hands by their side or raise them up during worship does that really matter and if it does what does it say about my attitude to worship. Am I paying so little attention to God that I can keep count of what everyone else is doing with their hands?
Who does all the quarreling hurt? Everyone. It hurts members who feel forced to take sides. It hurts visitors who came in seeking and are turned off by the constant arguing and bickering. It hurts the body as rather than grow we shrink. Seekers leave and believers leave and some of them never come back.
If there is one thing that is stressed in the New Testament it is love. If we approached each other in love rather than in anger we would see most issues dissolve into nothingness.
Have a blessed day,
PS: I felt I would be remiss not to mention the division going on in US churches today, mostly in the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches. These divisions are being caused by doctrinal issue as the main church body moves to an increasingly liberal interpretation of the Bible. Breakaway churches of both denominations are trying to move back to or stay faithful to a traditional interpretation of the scriptures as well as traditional creeds. For the most part this is being done on a congregation by congregation basis.