A while back, we were enjoying a time of Bible study in our home, after enjoying some supper together with our friends. It was a very relaxed time and I think we were discussing Mark’s gospel.
An innocent question came up and the discussion veered to the topic of hell, specifically, if Jesus went to hell.
It turns out I had wrote a blog post titled “Did Jesus go to Hell?” a few months prior and suggested that instead of chasing this rabbit trail, that anyone interested in that topic may pursue my thoughts in their free time.
One brother did.
I might better not have offered. It seems this blog offended my brother.
You know, it made me consider my own reactions to those who think and believe differently than I.
One weakness I have is to pass judgement on brothers that have differences of opinion or faith in secondary and tertiary matters. Of course the apostle describes the foundation of our faith as
…One body and one Spirit, one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
This is a non-negotiable in determining one that is “of the faith”. After that, many differences erupt between believers and I used to be very frustrated with those that hadn’t come around to my truth. Oh dear – did I say my truth – I meant the truth.
Ever notice that Jesus chose Matthew (a tax collecting sellout to Rome) and Simon (a zealot, who would die to free Israel from the Romans) to be in His band of followers. They hated each other. They were like a capitalist and a communist trying to get along. But Jesus chose them to be with Him, and the command to love each other must have made them choke the first time they understood it.
But differences are awesome – I have learned much after realizing I lived in a tiny, tiny corner of Christendom, not having met some of the believers that think differently than I. It has been a blessing (and a great challenge), since I need to come to grips with what I believe and not simply what a man or organization has taught me.
The arena of faith is so vast, and full of expression, so open within the boundaries of the basics. Jesus Christ, crucified, raised and glorified has supplied to His church a multifaceted faith that can be expressed in seemingly endless ways.
We can (and will) come to different conclusions and we need to give our brothers room for their understanding. It’s called grace and to give a brother room in his belief’s is a sign of maturity (I hope).
Somewhere the apostle tells us
The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.
We also need to be patient with those who may feel threatened by teaching that is new to them. The apostle reminds me that
…the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
It hurts greatly when a tertiary teaching such as the topic of “Did Jesus go to Hell” becomes a litmus test for brotherhood in the faith. I’m afraid in this instance, it did. I have reached out to my brother numerous time to discuss and come to a peaceful resolution, yet without success.
I lost a brother and a friend over that blog post, and I wonder if I failed my brother in some way. I don’t see any benefit in removing a blog post that might be remotely offensive from the site, since this does nothing for the readership except to supply them pablum and tasteless milk.
I also didn’t expect this topic to cause offence! (My goodness, what other posts may cause offence?) Deleting studies that may not conform to a specific Christian mind set seems unacceptable in my mind. I revel in the differences I experience with my brothers and sisters. Oh to have open discussions, where emotion does not control the comment, where there is more light than heat being generated, where the Word is considered and viewpoints are allowed.
With that long introduction, I would like to supply my discussion with my brother for your consideration in my next post. I open myself up to your comments, suggestions and rebuke (if necessary).
Thanks for reading!
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.