Ask Matthew Mittelberg (January 14-18, 2019)

(Matthew Mittelberg) #21

Hi Rob,

Thanks for your question here. I think you’re right that Christians have been far too willing to divide over non-essential disagreements in the past. The existence of denominations actually show that people are trying to find the truth on all issues, and are often being too insistent that everyone agree with them in every respect. In Philippians 3:15-16 the Apostle Paul says “Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.” Notice what Paul is saying here – if people don’t agree on minor issues related to the faith, that’s ok. As long as they don’t forget “the progress we have already made,” or in other words the established core beliefs of Christianity. Romans 14:5,13,19 goes on to say “In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable…So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall…So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.”

That being said, I don’t think it’s necessary all sinful for us to disagree on things. We are in an age where we don’t yet understand everything. Now we see in a glass dimly, but then face to face. (1 Cor 13) Denominations aren’t the same as divisions. As my dad has said, denominations share a common denominator. Today there exists a friendly camaraderie between most denominations who are trying to serve the Lord in their own way.

Matthew 7:13-14 would definitely not be talking about denominations, in my opinion, but the difference between those who are unsaved and those who are saved. We’re not saved by having 100% correct theology, or even 50.0001% correct theology. Like you say, we’re all fallen, so it’s probably impossible for us to be completely right about everything. Rather, we’re saved by putting our faith in Jesus and accepting his free gift of salvation.

In short, I think we should take the approach of the old Christian saying In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.

(Matthew Mittelberg) #22

Glad this was helpful Steve and @mpitts92!

Also came across this article from Dr. Craig on the subject if you’d like to see another response:

(Rob) #23

Well said. Thank you very much. If posible, i would love to see more truth conferences amongst the Christian denominations. If they would just humble themselves and come together in the areas they agree upon and try, through expository preaching and carefull study, to bridge the gaps and turn up the wattage of Gods truth. Like that saying goes: " the truth is out there". Or should i say in there. In the bible. Maybe this could attract more unbelievers. One giant source of light instead of thousands of individual candles trying to stay lit amongst the storm of lies created by the prince of lies.

I remember searching for a church after i woke up and listened to God’s call. Trying to find truth amongst all the lies was very difficult. Eventually the Holy Spirit took over and i believe guided me but there was many years of confusion not knowing what church or pastor i should use as my guide. It seemed every denomination slandererd the other. I do not remember them celebrating what they agreed upon . Im sure i am not the only one that found this exhausting, confusing and bleak. Again great site here. Keep up the wonderful and needed work. God bless.

(Lilibeth Aviles-Chakrabarty) #24

I am relatively new to the site. So, thank you so much for this blessing! @Matthew_Mittelberg, I’ve been reading the book The Ministry Of Intercession by Andrew Murray and although I have not finish it, it has raised a few questions I hope you can help me with.
He talks about our lacking in prayer (the minute time we give it etc) and follows each chapter with references to the book of Acts. I’ve read about the power the Primitive Church had in prayer and fasting etc… and made me wonder:

  1. Is it the lack of discipline in prayer alone that is keeping us from evangelizing with the same miracles and power as the apostles? Or
  2. Have we become too engrossed in a sort of “median” skepticism that’s keeping us from actually witnessing God’s palpable power? Are we brushing off miracles too easily?

I apologize if the questions are not expressed correctly. I’m just trying to make sense and answer some of the questions that have come to me recently. Thank you for your time.

(Matthew Mittelberg) #25

Hi Lilibeth, thanks for this question on prayer!

I definitely agree that we need more prayer in our lives, and many of our problems could be fixed if we would just turn to the Lord. For your first question, unfortunately I think only God has the answer! But I will say that I learned a lot by reading Lee Strobel’s newest book on Miracles, The Case for Miracles. In it, he discusses the prevalence of miracles in places where the gospel is breaking in for the first time, such as China. It seems like the context where ministry is being performed does have an effect on the kind of acts that God performs.

As far as being too skeptical toward miracle claims, I think that’s spot on. Most people are unaware that there are well-documented cases of modern day miracles, such as the ones described in Lee’s book, or in Craig Keener’s incredible two volume work Miracles. My faith was stretched by reading some of these accounts, and I want to be more expectant for miracles and ask the Lord to do great things.

(Lilibeth Aviles-Chakrabarty) #26

Thank you so much for your time. I will definitely check the books you suggested. God bless!

(Carson Weitnauer) closed #27

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