Are the differences in biblical interpretation as evidenced in various denominations a way for John 13:35 to be exhibited?

Hey to all!

I’ve been thinking through reasons why God would have built a world system that doesn’t overwhelm everyone by the evidence of His glory. Scripture tells us that every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus as Lord, so there will be a day it will be made evident to everyone, but that time isn’t now.

In thinking through faith being counted as righteousness for us and the fact that faith isn’t needed when He is fully revealed, it makes sense that He wouldn’t fully reveal Himself during the time of mercy. But, that then means that other proofs that He is real and that what He says is true are needed during that time.

This led me to consider personal differences and denominational differences in regard to scriptural interpretation. I have heard some RZIM Q&As when the question of varying interpretations and the fact of various denominations are a proof that God isn’t real - we can’t even come to agreement on many things within Christendom. And, denominational splits has led to infighting within the faith, which seems no different than the denominations of Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism - all faiths are the same in this manner, it’s asserted.

But, I wonder, if the system setup God has actually creates the environment that we can prove to the world how true love actually works - what it looks like to actually get along and value and respect each other even when we differ. What are your thoughts?

A couple of reference scriptures as jumping off points:

John13:35 - “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”

1 John 4:20 - “If someone says, I love God, but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?”

2 Peter 1:20 - “…knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation…”

Thanks!

Kevin

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Thank you Kevin!
Really looking forward to the responses on this thread.

I can say from personal experience in my own faith walk there was a season of self righteousness or Pharisee like behavior. Try that on while talking a big game about love. Ouch!!:man_facepalming:I was very convicted when I realized Jesus cared more about encouraging me to have more faith. I was focusing so hard on right understanding for me and others and missing out on the kind of faith that could lead to an intimate relationship for me and others with Jesus. The understanding has come later on just as He has seen fit to give me of Himself one day at a time. That increased faith is leading to increased understanding and that is leading to more hope and now I know that love is an action. Not a dried up word. Being part of the Beloved has been the coolest part of the journey. Thank God for different seasons.

Faith hope and love but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Luke chap 18 speaks to this line of though very well. Will He find faith on the earth when he returns?

Faith that says I am not innocent but you are Jesus and thank you for your grace to enter into your innocence. Wow what Love the Father has for us All!

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Hi @kumquat,

I hear your concern and longing for the unity of the Christian body. Your sentiments actually mirrored Jesus desire as well. Look at His prayer in John 17:20-21.

You raised 2 major questions in your posts, so here goes

1. Where is the overwhelming evidence of His glory?
There is actually overwhelming evidence of Christianity, compared to any other worldviews out there. But a questioner would probably respond, “Yeah, but not overwhelmingly obvious enough, that everyone knows without a doubt, that no one can deny.” To that you can read @SeanO’s post:


Please read Blaise Pascal’s quotes in that link. And let me bring up a bible verse I think is very relevant to this from Prov 25:2 NLT “It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them.” We can see when God conceals, it is not so we have no access to it, but it is so that we will seek, search out and investigate and discover it. But those who have no desire for the truth anyway, will not seek, and thus will not find it. And God will not force you to receive/discover something you have no desire to seek.

2. Why so many denominations?
There is actually already a thread to this, so as not to be repetitive, I will like to kindly point you there.

Since I’m on my PC, I can easily search around, I’ll like to point you to an additional piece of information to help understand the different level of doctrinals Christians usually disagree on and what should be essential from another of Sean’s excellent post:

I hope you have been enlightened. We need more people like you, who are concerned and willing to be respectful to our non-essential differences to be unified as one body of Christ. Thanks Kevin.

Blessings in Christ,
Roy

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Amen, brother! Thanks for answering…

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That is the very environment God set up. And, we get the opportunities each and every day to express our love for everyone through our patience attractive and gracious discourse. They will know we are christians by our love. That is how we do it. Love your neighbor! A good message on uplifting our neighbors in a Christian way is illustrated well in the Bible Project Justice clip. Let me know what you think.

God-bless. Watch “Justice” on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/240052534?ref=em-share

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Thanks, Roy! Good, helpful info…

Kevin

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Kel,

Great resource! Thanks for sharing it.

Kevin

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Are you asking in the context of believers getting along with believers or believers getting along with non-believers. I ask because there are things in the Bible that I believe are for the body of Christ but having said that how we respond to the admonitions will be part of our witness to a lost world.

Changing gears I believe that God’s intended plan for Israel was to live their lives so that the world (their neighbors) would marvel at the quality of their lives (God’s blessings) the love they had for each other and for their God and this living out the life that God put before them would compel the nation to come and see and to partake of his goodness and mercy. So the answer to your question form my understanding is yes the system does work even though there are not many takers.

Jimmy,

Thanks for your clarifying question!

I am considering those inside of the faith. My brother, who isn’t a believer, says that Christians shoot their wounded, are legalistic and know about towing the line of Do’s and Dont’s but little of loving people and that Presbyterians bashing Baptists bashing Methodists bashing Lutherans ad naseum proves its all a sham - little love within denominations or across them / no different than other religions who push the power of being “Right”.

Titus 3:8-9 about avoiding foolish controversies and such and I Timothy 6:4 about having an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words are a couple of scriptures that make me consider that it’s easy to tell ourselves that we’re serving God by being a corrector of others - particularly in a community of avid knowledge seekers. And, I think of George McDonald writing in Sir Gibbie “[in correcting others]…the time for speaking rarely comes; the time for being never departs”. All of this makes me wonder how careful we need to be in wading into many issues to push a false black and white choice set. Baptism, food to eat or drink to drink, day to worship, days of creation and which clothes to wear are a few, among others, that generate friction unnecessarily, I think.

But, the post was related to why God created a system in which these differences would even emerge. And, I posit that it is purposeful for there to be differences in the beliefs of those who follow Him during the period of partial revelation of Him, so that we can prove among ourselves to an unattuned/unperceptive world that He does in fact exist and does provide the required element to cause disparate beings to cohere in relationship.

nathangriffin81, the self-professed Pharisee in recovery, caught my drift, I think…

Kevin

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As someone else seemed to suggest, perhaps He set it up so that there are many “levels of understanding”, so we can have the joy of discovering new and deeper truths, continually. And i would bet that this is an infinite process as we learn more and more of His love and nature eternally.

I have been wrong so many times in my stumbling, but too often arrogant, path and His Truths have always revealed Him to be better than i could have earlier imagined. So we can always take our best current comprehension of His goodness and know, for sure, that He is even better than that!

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Thanks, Dean. There is so much of Him we don’t know yet. Encouraging and wise words to start my day!

Kevin

I agree with your brother.

Couldn’t help but think of Schaeffer:

“Christians are often lacking in courage. We tend to give the impression that we will hold on to the outward forms whatever happens, even if God is not really there. But the opposite ought to be true of us, so that people can see that we demand the truth of what is there and that we not dealing with mere platitudes.” “In other words, it should be understood that we take this questions of truth and personality [who God is and who human beings are] so seriously that if God were not there, we would be among the first to have the courage to [say so flatly and walk away from church and Christianity altogether] Insofar as we show this to be our attitude, maybe [those we wish to reach] will begin to take us seriously and listen to what we have to say.”
Francis A. Schaeffer, The God Who Is There.

Great point, Jimmy! We can be so easily offended that unbelievers can conclude that we live uncourageously by platitudes while God is, in fact, amazingly long suffering reaching with love towards those that purposely or accidentally offend Him. I have pondered God’s love that exists in the absence of our understanding or in the midst of our misunderstanding. It makes me think that as a believer one of the core things I might be asked to give up is the right to being understood in order to exhibit love or keep peace with someone.

What do you think?

Yea, verily, if i may offer my opinion! One thing that helps me be accepting of people that disagree with me is the history i have of being wrong so many times, over so many years.

Since our Father/Dad has been extraordinarily patient with me, as i explored, and tried on, many and various religions, cults, denominations, theologies, etc, what right have i to be impatient with those i am quite sure are wrong?

Now that i think about it, i recall there were quite a few people God used to teach me new truths, quietly and kindly, while i yelled at them my (mis)understandings as the absolute TRUTH – agree with me or you are evil for sure!!

Now i wonder which ones of my favorite “spiritual insights” will have to be revised and deepened next… a great adventure…

Reminds me that a missle doesn’t go directly, straight to the intended target; rather it has little side-rockets which continually adjust/correct the path the missle is taking. So what may look like a direct shot is actually a set of wobbles toward the final destiny, revisions by the Creator to get us Home/OnTarget at the right Time.

I am grateful for the topic.

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Is this closer to your thought.

Paul’s issue as I see it was not who believed, but what did the new believers feel was allowable to be practiced or observed from the old way of life and how much weight did it bring to bear on the efficacy of Christ. Christ + dietary law? Christ + holiday observance? Christ + temple (Jewish or Pagan)?
In general if we complete this equation with ‘= salvation’ then we have a problem but if we complete the equation with ‘= worship’ or “= practice” or anything else that does not change the weight of ‘Christ’ then I think that we find ourselves in agreement.

Is the words of @DeanW we can wobble:grinning: our way to the Cross and there perhaps better understand Paul’s admonition when he said:

10 being devoted to one another in brotherly love, esteeming one another more highly in honor, 11 not lagging in diligence, being enthusiastic in spirit, serving the Lord, 12 rejoicing in hope, enduring in affliction, being devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, pursuing hospitality.

(Ro 12:10–13 LEB)

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Thanks for sharing that, Dean. Some writers have written about God hounding them as he tracked them down and they became converts and even being reluctant converts. But, I am not aware of any of them becoming a convert through an argument with a human. Maybe it happens, just haven’t seen it/ don’t know of it happening. None of us have perfect knowledge of God - we need each other - and humbly recognizing we don’t know it all and having an attitude like yours, which leaves us open to self-examination and possible change to conform to truth to be more like Him, is a sign of maturity, I think.

Thanks again, brother!

Kevin

What a great point!

There is no Jesus+___. Needed corrections inside of the faith relate to additions to the sufficiency of Jesus while unnecessary corrections may be anchored in variations of worship forms or similar. I am finding, as I get older, that I am engaging in fewer conversations about doctrinal differences and more conversations about encouragement. I think of some lengthy conversations I have had with believers of different denominations as we tried to argue our points of view and I now find them silly. It’s hard being a late bloomer and slow learner! I’m thankful God is patient and faithful through my silliness.

Kevin

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