About questions: When is it okay to ask them? When is it SAFE to ask them?
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
The disciples asked Jesus a question and got an answer similar to the statement above,
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. Acts 1:6-7
After reading the Baptist Faith & Message, I have come to the conclusion that in our Baptist denomination, we all believe the basic tenets of the faith, but there is still room for some difference in opinion. Where those differences occur, Christ would have us strive for unity in the midst of diversity.
Paul said, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). He even told us how, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). We each answer to the Holy Spirit. If we are each reading our Bibles and searching the Scriptures daily to learn while trusting the Spirit to lead us as we study, then we can trust that the Spirit is in control of everyone’s information. If what someone else thinks — within the BF&M– doesn’t line up with what we think, we are to humbly seek to see the person’s point of view. If that view can be scripturally validated–even if we disagree–we bear with one another in love. If that view can’t be scripturally validated, then according to the Spirit’s leading, we gently and patiently discuss the matter until a consensus is reached (which can take a while–years, even).
In all things, we seek unity in the body for worship and communion even if we disagree on selected points of Scripture. Paul said, “All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained” (Philippians 3:15-16). What is it that Paul asked them to do?
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…
In a word,
Abba, we are family, Your family. We are siblings of Christ and You are our Father. I know that you want unity among Your children. May we take seriously Your prayer in John 17:20-21, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Segregating only makes us look like the world. I pledge to You, Abba, to work toward unity in all groups of which I am a part. Hold me to it! Amen.