Berean cogitations

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Enforcing "unity" in a Bible study

I was at a Bible study this summer where we were discussing ways to serve the church and demonstrate leadership. One person said, "I think we can serve the church and lead by attending regularly and always showing up on time." Cautiously, I responded, "Well, I think that's very important indeed, but I wouldn't really call it service."

At that point, the person in question said, "Are you contradicting me?" Another person raised her voice and said, "There will be no contradicting other people at this table!"

I was stunned, and so I said nothing in response. Looking back, I wish I had said, "Well, I simply think we should be allowed to voice our disagreements... and if you disagree with me on that point, then that's okay!"

These people meant well; make no mistake about that. However, they were trying to impose unity by forbidding disagreement -- by enforcing a blanket type of "tolerance" where nobody was allowed to contradict another person's views. This type of unity is unbiblical, for true unity ultimately comes from conformity to God's Word. That's not to say that we will agree on every single point; rather, it simply means that unity must come about by striving earnestly for the Lord, without compromising in either doctrine or character.