At one of the other forums I frequent, there has been a significant increase in Christian infighting over the last couple of years. While I appreciate that iron sharpens iron, and that robust but gracious debate may add to our understanding of God’s Word, the tone has become less than charitable. In fact, it is mostly downright rude and nasty.
It seems as if this mostly happens when some dearly-held beliefs are questioned. The most recent example, where I saw behavior that would put some drug-dealing gangsters to shame, was about the belief whether Mary, Jesus’ mother, was sinless or not. I saw words like cultist, satanistic pagans, rotten maggots, hateful bigots and hell-bound heretics thrown around.
If you refer to others Christians like that, in the name of your denomination or belief system, then I have no hesitation in saying to you that you have a serious spiritual problem. I cannot comment on your salvation status, that is between you and God. But if you are calling other believers in Christ such names, just because they question your particular brand of Christianity, are making God sad or happy? Are you adding or subtracting to His kingdom?
We all passionately hold to some doctrinal and theological beliefs. The right way to defend your beliefs is with patience and love. The other person may or may not like what you say, but don’t let them not like the way you say it.
Paul wrote this in his letter to the Corinthians:
1Co 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
1Co 1:11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.
1Co 1:12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”
1Co 1:13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
1Co 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
1Co 1:29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
1Co 1:30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
Boasting in a denomination over Christ puts the denomination and pet doctrines above Him that was crucified. It was not Mary, or Calvin, or Joel Osteen, or St Augustine that was crucified, it was Christ. He alone gives life, and every single person who believes that the crucified Christ gives life should be united in that all-important belief.
So debate and discuss graciously, and with love for other Christians, because one cannot win the spiritual war against evil by doing evil against those that Christ has bought with His blood.