One of the privileges that I am afforded in this ministry is to speak to believers from virtually every denomination, Catholic and Protestant and I am always encouraged and humbled by the diversity of the Church and the fact that every church includes men and women who love Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Yes, even in those "liberal" churches I find good men and women who are fighting the good fight of faith and refuse to be driven off by those who would compromise Scripture. These people really impress me; how easy would it be to simply go somewhere else and yet they do not because they feel called to stay, often at considerable cost, to contend for orthodoxy and those who remain within these embattled denominations. And yet, how often do we make false assumptions about people because they attend this or that church? Again, they're in categories different than our own and we too often lack love and charity because we are so certain our way is right.

I find that if I will just put aside my own pride and certainty about such things that I can enjoy spirit-filled fellowship with believers who may not fit within my own categories. However, in such instances I am always surprised and blessed by the experience and humbled once again that I may not know as much as I think I do.

I most assuredly hold to strong doctrinal convictions founded in historic orthodox Christianity however I have learned and I want to continue to learn to be open to other Christians whose experiences are different and doctrinal convictions dissimilar. This does not require me to compromise or become ambivalent about my own convictions, certainly not; it merely means that I humble myself before my brothers and sisters by not always trying to point out where they may be "wrong." It means that I accept them as they are and where they are in their spiritual journey and I remain open to the Lord's teaching in my own life.

I do not want the Lord to oppose me so I am perfectly willing to surrender my prideful certitude about such things that unnecessarily separate me from Christ-honoring fellowship with my brothers and sisters so that the Lord may give me grace which I so desperately need. I pray this for myself as well as the whole Church that in such unity we might glorify Christ and His Kingdom!

Copyright S. Michael Craven 2006

 

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S. Michael Craven is the Founding Director of the Center for Christ & Culture, a ministry of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. The Center for Christ & Culture is dedicated to renewal within the Church and works to equip Christians with an intelligent and thoroughly Christian approach to matters of culture in order to recapture and demonstrate the relevance of Christianity to all of life. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, additional resources and other works by S. Michael Craven visit: www.battlefortruth.org.

Michael lives in the Dallas area with his wife Carol and their three children.