Theocratic Bilateral Dispensationalism
by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Entertainment Editor
The immortal bard, Dave Barry, once wrote “The problem with writing about religion is that you run the risk of offending sincerely religious people, and then they come after you with machetes.” All humor aside, I can’t help but agree with Mr. Barry, especially where Christians are concerned. You see, we Christians have a habit of tangling our faith in things other than Jesus Christ. As a kid, I can remember my initial confusion when words like “Baptist”, “Catholic”, or “Calvinist” where added alongside “Christian”. This didn’t bother me much, they still meant Christian after all, but it surprised me how these words sometimes caused tension between believers.
Soon, other words started finding their way into the term “Christian”. Words like Republican, Democrat, Moderate, occasionally Communist, Egalitarian, Complementarian, Theocrat, or Dispensationalist. Aside from being really confusing and hard to spell, these words caused more than one disagreement among Christians. The first disciples saw their fair share of division too. In fact, Paul dedicated most of 1st Corinthians to calling for unity within the Church.
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas "; still another, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. – 1 Corinthians 10 – 17
I can just imagine Paul madly shaking some ancient Christian and yelling “DON’T YOU GET IT! IT DOESN’T MATTER! CHRIST IS ALL THAT MATTERS!” and he’s right. As Christians, it is important that we be on our guard against false teachings, but it is equally important that we do not let ourselves become divided. God never meant for his children to become separated, and when we allow issues like denominations or political leanings to cause strife between us, the message of the Cross becomes obscured.
We were meant to be one body, one family, unified, as brothers and sisters. In his infinite grace, Christ called us to be Christians.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Are you letting political or personal issue keep you from loving fellow Christians? Read 1 Corinthians and reflect on Paul’s words.