Monday, September 14, 2009


We need to extend grace in matters of style, as well as sin. I would say that CTK has become noted for being a place of grace for sinners. We say without reservation that there is "Always a Place for You." We don't care where you've been, or what you've done, we know that love covers over a multitude of sins. We say, "God will take you where you are, He just won't leave you there." We believe there is forgiveness for the past, and hope for the future. There is no question about how we feel about sinners. We love them. The question is, "Will we extend the same kind of grace to someone who differs from us in their style?"

Thomas Jefferson put it so well when he said, "In matters of style, swim with the current, in matters of principle, stand like a rock." This has proved to be a difficult balance for Christians to maintain. We have tended to a) gravitate to certain styles (in preaching, worship, service order), then b) imagine that our preferred methodology must be "right," then c) become cynical, critical or judgmental of others for being different. We must resist this temptation. As Jefferson noted, style is an area where we want to see diversity, not unity. We want to be loyal to the master and mission, not the method and manner.

I have found that many believers have a wrong notion about Christian unity. They confuse unity with uniformity. Christian unity is not uniformity. Uniformity is the natural man's way of seeking unity and involves:
(1) looking for little things he has in common with others, then

(2) finding differences between his group and others, and finally

(3) increasingly insisting that those who are with him be like him.

That is not Christian unity. That is worldly uniformity. And, frankly, anyone can do it, which is why everyone is doing it. Christian unity is embracing diversity within the will of God (see 1 Corinthians 12). Did you catch the difference? Christian unity actually embraces diversity. Within God's will, there is grace for differences in personality and presentation.

Can you appreciate a sermon that is preached in a different style than you prefer? Can you worship with a song that isn't your favorite? Can you "talk up" a denomination that isn't yours? If not, you may need to take some of the grace that you have for sin, and apply some of it to style.

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