Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: divisions in Christianity

Living faith

It appears that many Muslims in Syria and Iraq are beginning to realize that the Wahabi branch of Islam is not their friend. As long as Wahabi-inspired terrorism seemed to be mainly directed at Jews, Christians, and Western civilization in general, they could cheer for supposed Islamic victories and overlook attacks against other Muslims. But now ISIS is aimed solely at other Muslims and people are rethinking their admiration for the teachings of the Wahabi movement.

Muslims like to claim that Christians are divided into many conflicting denominations and Muslims are all one. This ignores the fundamental differences between Sunnis and Shiites that are behind many Middle East conflicts. Then there are the Alawis, Druzes, Ahmadiyas and other smaller groups, regarded as heretics by both Sunnis and Shiites. The Wahabis are the hardline ultra-orthodox wing of the Sunnites and consider all the others to be apostate. This doesn’t sound much like unity to me.

The confusion of so many differing conflicting voices, all claiming to speak for the Christian faith is not a strong argument for Christianity. We will not improve matters by trying to paper over those differences and pretending to all get along, which would mean agreeing to not believe much of anything.

Is the only alternative to try and prove everybody else wrong and stridently drown out their voices? How do we seek the truth, take a stand for the truth, without being curmudgeons? How did Jesus do it?

Jesus used many uncomplimentary terms to describe the pharisees, such as “blind leaders of the blind.” But he never stooped to using personal insults. He was pointing out the disconnect between what they professed to believe and the way they conducted their lives. The gospels report that many of the pharisees believed in Him.

In all He said and did, Jesus was uncompromising in His denunciation of sin, yet sinners still felt His love. As Christians, we often claim to “hate the sin but love the sinner,” but do people living in sin really feel that from us? Or do they experience scorn and rejection?

It is not within our human ability to produce a genuine Christ-like attitude. It is when our lives are animated by the presence of the Holy Spirit that we can reject sin in all its forms without rejecting the people captured in those sins.

All the squabbling over truth does nothing to prove the truth of the Christian faith. Yet truth is important, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Truth in the abstract form can never set us free. Truth that transforms our lives and makes us more like Christ is the only real evidence of the reality of Christian faith.

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