Let me get this straight right away. I didn't want to have to write this.
But unfortunately, I do.
Its seems people are getting mixed up between opinion, interpretation and truth.
I've had enough of people from all sides of the church who act like they are right and everyone else is wrong. Calling each other heretics or not true Christians. Misinterpreting people they don't agree with to prove they are right.
The more I read of different people's opinions on other Christians, the more it becomes clear. People are concerned not with truth. Not with love, not with mercy and forgiveness. Not with living like Jesus.
People are more concerned about who is right. As long as its them.
It's a fact of life that people are going to disagree on interpretations on the Bible. Yes, interpretations. That's what you think the Bible says.
Lets make it clear - your interpretations are yours, and there a few 'right' or 'wrong' answers when it comes to the Bible.
You see there's a problem with the Bible.
The word of God itself is fine, its true. It shows us who God is and it how to live like God wants us to. But the problem is us.
When we read the Bible, we interpret it. According to what we've been brought up on, our circumstances, our personality, we interpret it a certain way.
When we do that, it becomes an opinion.
Now as I've said before, I believe there are incorrect interpretations of scripture, which contradict the nature and character of God and Jesus His son. Which miss the heart of the message.
I believe there are some passages which form basic truth. They can be interpreted in different ways, but most Christians who read them generally come to the same conclusion. But even with these, there are always new things we can learn from them.
But there are some passages that can be interpreted - look at their original meaning in its historical and cultural context, ask questions of them and see what they can mean. We can look for new meaning in them - and as long as it doesn't deviate from the heart of what Jesus is all about and the basic truths of our faith, and it fits in with what Jesus was all about, then it can be true. It can be relevant.
But here's something else. We need to be open to learn. Open to ask questions. Open to grow.
Jesus taught us to love our neighbour. Even if we disagree with their theology.
What unites us?
Love. Peace. Forgiveness. Our faith in Jesus.
Jesus calls us to be His body and says a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. At the moment, everyone who expends all their energy criticising or attacking other Christians who are actually doing a lot of good, bringing people to faith, serving and blessing those in need and showing them a glimpse of the love of Jesus in a practical way, is basically holding back the kingdom.
That energy needs to be used constructively. To serve. Give. Love. Forgive. Encourage. Pray.
That energy needs to be harnessed to build the kingdom and bring the love of Jesus to earth. To show them that despite its differences, the basic things that unite the church are the right things, are the good things. Love, grace, mercy, servanthood, forgiveness, justice, peace.
Then perhaps people will see the real Jesus, and the church can start to grow again.