How far should we go in avoiding those who teach falsehood? This is an important question for every Christian to answer in the culture we live in, a culture when many people are far too willing to say that there are many versions of the truth, and it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you truly believe it.
Should we say that those who don’t believe in baptizing children are wrong and therefore we should mark and avoid them? What about those who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, or those who feel that the correct church organization must include bishops and a Pope? In other words, should we shun any Christian who does not believe exactly what we believe about every element of the faith? Some would make that argument, but I don’t.
What is our measuring stick then? How do we differentiate between those who are simply in error, and those whose opinions are so wrong that they are outside the faith? If we allow too much leeway, then we are not being true to Jesus who said we are to have unity in the Truth. If we don’t allow enough leeway, then we are turning our backs on our brothers and sisters in the faith, and as St. John puts it so well, we are failing to love our brethren and walking in darkness.
What we must avoid at all costs, is allowing an error to be treated as if it were simply okay. We must hold vigorously to our understanding of the faith as set forth in the creeds and the Lutheran Confessions because these writing are accurate statements of the faith taught in Scripture.
Unity is Christ’s desire for His people, and it will only be fully realized in glory. In a world that hates the Truth, that chases after lies and attacks the Body of Christ regularly, it is important for us to know with whom we are indeed united and stand by them for they are one with us.
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