This past week I was taking care of a co-workers dog while he was away. A one year old German Shepherd. Terribly sweet, but not that smart. The first day that I took him out for a walk, he did something I have never seen a dog do before. When he went to pee, he lifted his leg and somehow managed to pee on his other paw. He then of course wanted to jump on me and then when I took him inside, ran around the entire apartment spreading dog urine all over. What kind of dumb dog pisses on its own feet?
Change of topic.
Have you been following the controversy this week over John MacArthur’s new book and conference? He goes on the attack against the entire charismatic movement. Here is a summary:
In this book, Pastor MacArthur argues, “The ‘Holy Spirit’ found in the vast majority of charismatic teaching and practice bears no resemblance to the true Spirit of God as revealed in Scripture,” even accusing the modern charismatic movement of “attributing the work of the devil to the Holy Spirit.”
In fact, he claims that leaders of the movement are “Satan’s false teachers, marching to the beat of their own illicit desires, gladly propagat[ing] his errors. They are spiritual swindlers, con men, crooks, and charlatans.” (HT)
Then… Mark Driscoll decided to crash the party and got into a public hubub about the whole thing. (read here). And the internet has been full of back-and-forth about who is right, who is wrong, etc etc.
But this is nothing new. We see it all the time. Christians fight publicly about this stuff all the time. Spiritual gifts, baptism, worship styles, role of women in ministry, accepting of LGBT folks or rejecting, emergent vs. Gospel coalition… whatever it is… you get the idea.
Back to topic one: Dog Pisses on Self.
So I am asking my self, what kind of being pisses on its own feet?
And then it occurred to me: the Body of Christ in our day.
We do it all the time.
John MacArthur is doing it… Mark Driscoll is doing it… John Piper has done it.
Liberals do it to conservatives.
Conservatives do it to liberals.
Catholics and Protestants…
Egalitarians and complementarians…
Traditionalists and progressives.
I’ve been guilty of it. And my guess is that you have too.
We piss on each other, which is the same thing as pissing on our own feet, since we are ONE BODY.
The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
And then he follows with 1 Corinthians 13… not a passage about marriage, but a teaching on love within the Body of Christ… a call to unity… an application to the teaching and rebuke already laid out in the letter:
If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
This is what it means to be the Body of Christ.
I am a big advocate for what I call a BIG TENT approach to Christianity. That is, as opposed to always looking for reasons and ways to exclude people, we try and include as many as possible. In BIG TENT Christianity theological diversity is par for the course. It is also messy at times, but worth the messiness.
Unity in the essentials.
Diversity in the non-essentials.
Charity — that is, love and grace — in all things.
What must there be unity on? The core basics…
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic universal church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
What don’t we have to agree upon in order to be in fellowship and mission together?
- The theology of sacraments
- Infant or Adult Baptism
- End Times Theology
- Who can be ordained
- Gay Marriage
- Understanding of the Spiritual Gifts
- Worship style
- Leadership structure and style
- Preaching style
- Birth Control
- End of Life Issues
- Most daily ethical issues
Can we stop dividing the church over non-essential issues?
Can we stop compromising our witness over silly and petty disagreements?
Can we stop undermining mission in the name of theological orthodoxy?
And mostly, can we stop pissing on our own feet?
Seriously… we can do better.