My sister and I stumbled into a conversation about End Times. She, assuming I agreed with her, made her statement about it. I, deciding whether to remind her I’m of a different camp, paused for a moment. Do we really want to go there?
But, being that she is a friendly foe (she has to love me know matter what I say) we went there. And we disagreed with each other.
This isn’t big news – people disagree all the time. But then she said something that made me think. She wondered how our disagreeing about this subject could turn people off toward Christianity. “If we can’t agree on this, why should anyone listen to anything we say?”
She has a point. Why should they? Shouldn’t we be of the same mind, since we read the same Bible and have the same Spirit residing in us?
Her question reminded me of something that happened after my first baby was born. Our pediatric office offered a “Caring for Baby” class to small groups of new parents. I was a new mom, so I went. One of the babies in the group kept coughing. The parent was upset and said to the doctor, “We’ve seen several doctors in the group, and they’ve all say to do something different about my baby’s cough! Why can’t you guys agree?”
Quiet in the room. Can you talk to a doctor like that?
The doctor sighed and said, “Well, we all agree on how to treat meningitis.”
A serious illness in an infant has little “try and see” treatments. It is serious business with definite procedures. But for little things that the body tends to work out itself, like coughs and colds, well, you can try this, or you can try that.
Could this be true of doctrine as well?
There are hundreds of topics in the Bible that God doesn’t speak as plainly as we would like. End Times, methods of baptism, etc etc etc. I wonder if it is because these are little things?
But as for who God is, how much he loves us, and how he made a way for us to have peace with him, he’s pretty clear. No, it’s not spelled out like a recipe, but it’s there if you look for it. My sister and I will never argue about the purpose of the cross, or the holiness of God.
Not that things like End Times and baptism shouldn’t be argued, discussed, and pursued – we all should pursue understanding. But we won’t all be in agreement about our conclusions. This fact may be a turn-off to seekers and a bummer to my desire for perfect unity, but it will help us if we remember whether we are discussing meningitis or a cough.