People Who Aren't Like Me

Reflecting this morning that almost all the people who have most strongly invested in my life are people with whom I don't agree about a variety of things. I could list lots of people, but over the years the 6 who  who have most gone out of their way to disciple me are, in no particular order: Nigel Pollock, Nigel Lee, Philip Warburton, Gareth Davies, John Risbridger and Tony Waktins. I honour these guys and love them to bits. I wouldn't be the person I am, doing what I do, without them.

Two are arminians. I am not. At least one takes a very different view to me on issues of leadership and gender. One is a theistic evolutionist. I am not. One is a premillenialist. I am not. At least one has major queries over continuing charismata. I am a charismatic.

All of them are (or, in the case of Nigel Lee, were) fantastic at discerning the difference between primary issues which are potential fellowship-breakers and secondary issues where evangelical brothers and sisters can disagree in good spirit. All of them are fantastic at building relationships and initiatives across the evangelical spectrum. And all of them have them have gone out of their way to be channels of God's grace to me.

And grace is the thing when it comes to relationships and differences on secondaries. We have to be very kind to each other. Not simply fudging and refusing to deal wiht important issues for fear of offence. But rather developing such good relationships that dealing seriously with disagreements happens without offence in that context. 

I won't forget one ministry situation I witnessed in which a large grouping demanded certain things of another ministry with whom they had no relationship and didn't want one. And were incensed when that ministry didn't concur, labelling them in a variety of unfortunate ways. Why those folk ever thought that was a good way to have discussion I don't know. But one thing was for sure and that was the recipients of their ire may not have declined because of any major doctrinal differences but quite possibly just because people were nasty to them. People tend to behave as enemies if they feel they have been made enemies of.

I praise God for people from a wide range of backgrounds who nurtured me in love, rather than treating me as an enemy for being a complementarian, calvinist, amillenialist, non theistic-evolutionist, continuationist.

Its great having friends!