Thursday, January 5, 2012

Does It Matter?

I don't claim to know what the right answers are on some issues, actually lots of issues. I have been in Christian communities since I was 9 years-old and one thing has always bothered me. Christians who try to prove what they believe is right. Not the big stuff, no the stuff that people have theological debates over. Does God still do....? You fill in the blank. That question has always kind a bothered me. 1. who am I to say what God still does. 2. He is the One Who Is, Who Was, and Always Will Be. (Opps, this morning I realized this should say Who Is, Who Was, and Who Is To Come.) Doesn't that answer it?

He is! I have no right to define that. Yes, His Word gives us descriptions, many descriptions, of who God is. It is filled with what He has done and what He will do. Why isn't that enough? Why do Christians feel the need to define Him and what He does outside of what His Word says?

Then there are the petty things: music, dress, even who should minister. If the music I listen to, my church sings, or I hear on the radio glorifies God then who has the right to say it is wrong or right? It's not about wrong or right, it's about God. Does it bring Him glory? If not, that's one thing, but I am not talking about that. I am talking about people's preference in music. Did you know that the church pew was once a huge debate in the church? People actually fought the idea of sitting down during a service. Seriously, sitting or standing that was the issue that people allowed to divide them!

Should a woman's hair be long? Can she or can she not wear jewelry? Can a guy have long hair? Have earrings? Should we only wear Sunday Best to church? Can a woman preach? Can she lead a ministry? Dunk or sprinkled? Robes for the choir? Matching outfits? No choir at all? Children in Sunday School or in the service? Oh, the list of things Christians choose to debate goes on and on. Have you ever wondered why there are so many denominations? Well the answer is simple, people. People had opinions. People had preferences. People said I'm leaving and taking my stuff with me, taking others along with them. Over what? Over false teaching about God? Jesus? Holy Spirit? Not usually!

I guess that is what I really don't get! Is the debate about theology? Is the debate about tradition? Is the debate about preference? I hope it is! I hope it isn't about God! Because no one, no not one, is qualified to debate about Him. No one is qualified to define who He is outside of what His Word says He is. No one is qualified to debate what He does outside of what His Word says He does.

I went to a couple different Christian schools. In both of those schools sports were pretty important parts for me. Because of all the different denominations, we often played games against teams from schools that were not the same as the ones I went to. I never thought it really mattered. But I remember one school that said they couldn't lose because Jesus wasn't a loser. Um, so if my team lost what did that mean about us? And yes, it was meant as a put down.  Another that refused to play our girls in basketball because we wore shorts to play in. I remember crying in the locker room, because we drove all the way to their school, which was not close, to play and then they refused to play us after we had all gotten dressed. I didn't understand it then and I don't now.

I remember once a friend was trying to make conversation on a long drive and him asking if I believed in pretrib or posttrib. My answer, which I remember to this day, was "does it matter? Does His Word say that there will be a tribulation? That's all that matters. My opinion on that doesn't."

So I guess what I would say is decide if the thing you want to debate really matters? Is it even Biblical for you to be debating it or just denominational? Are you debating who the very nature of God is? Take a second, maybe a minute, how about a week, and decide, "does it matter? Is God being glorified?"

I know there will always be debate. I find that sad. I know people will always have preferences, which is fine, but some will choose to use them to divide. I know that traditions, denominations, and theologies will always bring debate and argument from people who disagree. I know this because we are all human, imperfect ones, and as long as imperfect humans are involved then this will always be. But it makes me sad!

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