With all the growing tension in our world, I have noticed a surprising trend: certain groups of disagreeing Christians have started to unite.
I know, I’m just as shocked as you are.
Sure, we have plenty to disagree about regarding masks, essential gatherings, political pressure, and racial tensions, but something has happened. Some Christians are starting to play nice with one another.
Christians are often sidetracked by tribalism.
We tout our associations more than our unification. We promote our brand more than our Savior. We focus more on our little kingdoms than God’s glorious Kingdom.
That’s why we often shout so loudly at each other. Our group is better than yours. Our doctrine is more sound than yours. Our stance is more reliable than yours.
We major in the minors until something more significant grabs our attention.
In recent months I have noticed surprising support among religious tribes that don’t normally play nice.
- People who typically distance themselves from John MacArthur’s reformed theology have made him the poster child for religious liberty and church reopenings.
- Believers who are unsupportive of Voddie Baucham’s doctrinal stances have shown enthusiastic support of his stance regarding race issues.
- Tribes who typically demean the Catholic church have turned Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett into the religious hero of 2020.
Is it wrong? No, not at all. It just shows the power of a common enemy.
What causes disagreeing Christians to unite is when we can agree upon a prioritized issue. While we often get sidetracked in inconsequential debates, a serious rallying cry often wakes us up. Maybe we need to keep that.
As a Christian, it is often hard to identify primary, secondary, and tertiary issues. If it is difficult to distinguish them myself, you can see why it is hard for two people to agree let alone millions of professing Christians.
There are some issues that need to be debated in the church as serious issues, and there are others that we need to be reminded that we are on the same team.
I do think that maybe in the insanity of 2020 we have stumbled across something important. Maybe it is good to have a common enemy. Maybe it is good to clarify the ultimate cause. What causes disagreeing Christians to unite is when we can agree upon a prioritized issue.
The ultimate cause of Christians should be to make disciples. Satan is the common enemy – not each other.
When major issues are pressing, it is unfeasible to obsess over the trivial.
One time, Jesus’ followers got in a tizzy because they caught people doing ministry but it wasn’t someone from their circle. They tried to stop them but couldn’t, so they just went to tattletale to Jesus. His response is telling:
”For the one who is not against us is for us.”Mark 9:40
Maybe we could learn from that. Maybe we could keep the main thing the main thing.
Make disciples – not arguments.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.