In light of what I blogged about yesterday concerning one our church plants leaving the connection I have been thinking about why we (and I use the collective "we" of all followers of Jesus) fight each other so much.
I mean good gosh! In this case we fight about methods, or about doctrine that does not strike at the heat of Christianity, or homosexuality, or how the church should be organized, or whatever. We put all this energy into all these arguments. We put all kinds of time into these arguments. All the while there are people who are hungering for Christ. And, I do have to say on one level it is healthy to engage in spirited discussion. There is a time to confront false teaching (when it strikes at the heart of the faith). However, there comes a tipping point where are constant arguing and sniping is not God honoring. It is certainly not a good witness to the world.
I think we do well to remember that our enemy is not each other, but it is Satan. It is the evil forces, powers or whatever you want to call them in your theology. We don't need to be fighting each other but joining together to push back the gates of hell. Our enemy is not the pro or anti-"whatever the issue", it is not the new church or the traditional church, it is the enemy himself.
I think Wesley (borrowing from Augustine) is helpful here "As to the essential unity, as to non-essentials, think and let think."