When Christians Disagree
Dr. Ray PritchardDr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 43 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, three daughters-in-law--Leah, Vanessa, and Sarah, and seven grandchildren. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
- 2007 Mar 12
We have just posted a new sermon on the KBM website:
Here is an excerpt on three warning signs that you’ve let "your issue" impact your life negatively:
Our danger is that not only will we disagree and separate, but that we'll cross the line from justifiable disagreement to anger and bitterness. Let me share three warning signs to help you know when you've crossed that line. Number one: When the issue becomes a controlling passion of your life. You've crossed the line when all you do is lie awake at night thinking about that saxophone on Sunday morning. You wake up in the middle of the night and you can just hear that saxophone blaring "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," and it bothers you. That’s all you can think about, it's all you can talk about during the day. You’ve gone too far when the issue--whatever it is--becomes the controlling passion in your life.
Number tw When you begin to attack the person and not the problem. Attacking the problem means studying the issue, sorting out the good and bad points, thinking through other ways of looking at things, and so on. Attacking the person means losing your temper, questioning motives, and using intimidation to get your own way. When it gets personal, you've gone too far. In the heat of controversy it's easy to spread rumors or tell stories or twist facts in order to make someone else look bad. At that point you've gone way over the line. It doesn't matter how big or how little the issue is, you ought to be able to discuss it rationally without stooping to rumor and character assassination.
Number three: When you would rather talk about "your issue" than about Jesus Christ. This is often where Christian disagreement ends up. Jesus becomes a casualty of our in-fighting. Sometimes our message to the world seems to be, "God loves you but we hate each other." Too often we fight so much about secondary things that Jesus gets pushed to the side. Is it any wonder that the world shrugs off our message? When you would rather fight other Christians than share Christ with the lost, something has gone wrong in your spiritual life.
If we have to disagree--and sometimes we do, and if we have to go our separate ways--and sometimes we do, then let us disagree agreeably--with respect and not rancor.