Summary: I often wonder where my fellow believers stand, especially those who I stand along side of in the church. We live in a day and age where there is much compromise and strife within the church.
I often wonder where my fellow believers stand, especially those who I stand along side of in the church. We live in a day and age where there is much compromise and strife within the church. The church as a body of believers is struggling to understand how to deal with culture. Some seek to embrace culture, and others seek to protest culture. There is an important balance to strike here. And it's clear that we need to be in this world, while at the same time we are not truly of this world.
As Jesus said in John the 17th chapter, in His prayer to the Father for his disciples: "I have given them your word and the world has hated them,for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." -John 17:14-18
The whole Bible, cover to cover is the word of God, all of it. How can I know if my brothers and sisters believe this? There is a fairly simple litmus test to administer. I'll preface by saying that you probably won't like it. I don't like it. No one enjoys "controversial" topics like these. But it is a good way of knowing where someone stands; If someone stands more so with the Bible, or if someone stands more so with the cultural views of the world. Its a pertinent concern of our day and age.
Love, mercy, and gentleness are important in this process. Anything good done in the wrong spirit can be become an evil. If I have all the right views of scripture and have no love, I'm a useless pharisee and a spawn of hell. Plain and simple. But if I have only love and all the wrong views of scripture, and I reject God's word for my own opinions, I've become just as much a spawn of hell, if not more so. Love and truth is in perfect balance in Christianity. Though I would say that love is truth, and truth is love. The Christian concept of love is a love baked together with truth, in essence a 'true love.' The worldly love of the world then, is not love at all, but in fact harmful, veiled in nicety, inclusion, acceptance, and a totalitarian "no one must ever be offended" concept, which is of course not love at all, but something else entirely.
Yet biblical love is essential, biblical love, mercy, and a pouring out of excessive, scandalous grace. We have to be so careful to strike that balance. It's so easy to become a mean spirited dogged judgmental pharisee when we fight for truth and speak truth on important issues of our day. We have to be so careful that we speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Let me say that again, it's the biblical Pauline epistle formula for speaking truth, we are called to speak the truth in love. And as Peter wrote, we are called to provide an answer, but to do this with gentleness and patience (1st Peter 3:15).
To be truth speakers in a fallen culture, we must make sure, though in the right hand our sword is truth, in the left hand we carry the love that comes with a gentle spirit. That is our goal and formula.
So we seek to help our brothers and sisters who have been misled by the viewpoints of the world, to hold biblical positions on key issues. This is a simple litmus test to see where our brothers and sisters are at.
Question 1: What is your view on the authority of scripture?
Does the believer consider the scriptures as the guide of their opinions, and viewpoints, or do they hold their own viewpoints above the scriptures, and dictate their own views into the scriptures? Are they willing to change what the Bible says to suit their own viewpoints? This is the most crucial question, and obviously guides what their answers will be on the next two.
Question 2: Do you consider human life to be sacred, God given, including unborn life in the womb?
Millions upon millions of unborn child have been slaughtered in our time. It is a modern day genocide, a modern day child sacrifice, something like 57 million unborn children have died, and gone to Jesus, precious souls, who never had a chance to live, because they were removed for the purpose of convenience, or to prevent "emotional problems." What a terrible thing! It is the very inversion of the cross of Jesus Christ, Jesus died for us, abortion says, you die for me, for my convenience.