11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
I'm really not sure where to begin on this one today. But I'm continually coming back to the subject area of truth, and the bible being the only source of absolute, unchanging truth. For evangelicals especially, this would on the surface seem to be a simple prospect; the Bible is the inerrant word of God. But as recent Barna polls shows, this is not automatically the case. More and more often mainstream Evangelical Christian leadership is beginning to second guess scripture…and think that is 'natural'. It is natural for the secular human, but cannot be for the devout, true Christian.
Without making this a sola scriptura debate, I just want to key on one thought. There is much debate surrounding the bible. There is much debate as to whether it is the recorded Word of God. There is debate as to whether or not the details of the texts have been corrupted and/or that errors may have crept in during translation from Hebrew to Greek to Aramaic to Latin, to German to King's English to the majority of all written modern languages on earth today. My point is that as much as we want to say that the is clear on all things, God does leave room for debate on some non-salvational issues.
Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. I am of a pre-millennial rapture theology. I believe that the bible clearly teaches a rapture of the 'church', i.e. believers prior to the time of the Great Tribulation. Others believe just as strongly that there will be a mid-tribulational rapture, others a post-trib rapture, and still others in no rapture at all. While I'm certain that what I believe is taught in scripture, I do not allow this position to effect my ability to minister to or with those who hold opposing views on such a biblical event. Why am I OK with that? Because this is a non-salvational issue. So while I feel that there is room for healthy discussions on certain issues, and that the ultimate 'final truth' on every single question that you might have may not be written with line-item instructions in scripture detailing how each situation must be handled, there is enough of the 'entire counsel of God' to KNOW His character well enough to make right, and righteous decisions in all things.
Perhaps most importantly, I DO believe that where salvation is the issue, God leaves no doubt. Robert McAfee Brown once wrote, "We do not see everything… but we see Jesus. We may see darkly, but we do see. We see enough to walk with confidence. We see enough to commit our lives to God. WE see enough to trust God. We see enough to know that God will meet our deepest needs. We see enough to shed light on the mystery of Jesus, to know that He is… the meaning of life."
God has made the bible CLEAR on what we must know to be saved. Of this there is no question. It is of course centered on Jesus. We must learn to leave room where God leaves room, but to stand firm and be united in Christ. As others have said, we must not major, on the minors. But in saying as much, we must be careful. As this statement for too many of the liberal bend, is taken as license to live a Christian C'est la vie, live-and-let-live life style where all things going are tolerable as long as they take place under the banner of being "Christian". Yes, we are to be united, but we are to be united in the character and love of Christ, and of all the characters in scripture, Jesus was the last person to give license to, and distance Himself from those who opposed the gospel and the Father's character.
Our center must be Jesus and noting more. Our future must be Jesus and nothing more or less. Our hope must be Jesus, nothing more, nothing less. Our Unity needs to be in Jesus and His character, not in a religion, a creed, or anything else. Just the Jesus as shown to us in scripture, and as is alive at the right hand of the Father still to this day. Only then, shall we have the unity of faith to a perfect man.