As Christians, it’s a great temptation to argue over doctrinal differences. We are so passionate at times about what we feel is correct. We want to correct other believers and remove their errors. Sometimes these debates become vicious where the believers start hating each other and saying that the other person is not even saved because of these doctrinal differences! How sad it has become!!
Jesus said that we should love one another. This is how the world will know that we are followers of Jesus – not because we agree on every doctrine but because we love others and forgive one another even if we disagree on doctrine.
John 13 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.””
Look at what Jesus told His disciples when they were proud about who would be greatest in the kingdom. The apostles thought that they had all the right doctrine because they were following Jesus directly. They looked down upon others who didn’t follow them!
But let’s see what Jesus says:
33 He came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing among yourselves on the way?” 34 But they were silent, for they had disputed with one another on the way about who was the greatest.
35 He sat down, and called the twelve; and he said to them, “If any man wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all.” 36 He took a little child, and set him in the middle of them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such little child in my name, receives me, and whoever receives me, doesn’t receive me, but him who sent me.” 38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone who doesn’t follow us casting out demons in your name; and we forbade him, because he doesn’t follow us.”
39 But Jesus said, “Don’t forbid him, for there is no one who will do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me. 40 For whoever is not against us is on our side. 41 For whoever will give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ’s, most certainly I tell you, he will in no way lose his reward. 42 Whoever will cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if he were thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around his neck. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having your two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire, 44 ‘where their worm doesn’t die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 45 If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life lame, rather than having your two feet to be cast into Gehenna, into the fire that will never be quenched— 46 ‘where their worm doesn’t die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 47 If your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out. It is better for you to enter into God’s Kingdom with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna of fire, 48 ‘where their worm doesn’t die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, with what will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Jesus tells us to not cause other believers to stumble. It’s not worth it!
We may have differences in many doctrines, but as long as we believe in Jesus Christ then we must love one another and not be separated based on other minor differences.
Even if we have differences we are called to love and accept one another.
If we have superior knowledge, but lack love, then being a believer is useless as Paul said here. We are called to mature in LOVE for one another.
1st Corinthians 13
“If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don’t have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don’t have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient and is kind. Love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, 5 doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 6 doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.”
May God help us to love one another in spite of all our doctrinal differences in Jesus’ name, Amen.
(For further reading, please read Romans 14)