Every church has issues that they struggle with and that can threaten their unity and future. For a long time I thought it was only more conservative congregations that faced them. My theory was that these congregations were more issue based but I've learned that is not the case.
I also realize "issues" in the church are nothing new. It's an easy but correct "hit" to reference the church at Corinth here. They were a part of "The Issue A Month Club"!
It is important to notice that the Lord still loved them, there were still faithful folks and that Paul still considered them brethren (even enough that he would take support from them) even with the huge issues they faced. They were not "written off as too liberal" or "withdrawn from" by other congregations. That even though they had problems with the marriage issue, with worship being big time out of control (I know some churches today that have worship issues but have yet to find one where our brethren were getting drunk at the communion table, or not remembering the Lord's body and blood during such).
Back to subject...Issues.
One of the huge positives of our fellowship is our commitment to the scriptures. If a matter can be determined by the scriptures then that for the vast majority of our brothers and sisters settles it. How blessed we are by that.
Here's the down side: It seems to me that we often determine our issues based upon our likes and dislikes and then run to scriptures to prove we are right and to try to find (and often wrest) a passage to support our preference. I know I could be wrong on this but when I see some of the "biblical aerobatics" that are done to justify or condemn an act that seems a very logical conclusion.
(Up till now most are nodding their heads in agreement. Here's where you'll start picking up stone to throw at me. Please remember, I just picked an issue, there are many out there) So a matter like the of clapping in worship settings comes up:
Those who like and support that practice will argue it is no different than saying "Amen" which we are instructed to do in the Bible. That's a stretch. There is a difference between clapping and saying "amen" and at 1st grader can spot that.
Those who dislike and oppose that practice have made the argument that hands clapping together are no different than a drum for a drum is just the skin of an animal stretched and therefore there is no difference between it and instrumental music in worship of the church which the scriptures exclude. Really?
Both seem to be little more than exegetical gymnastics, belying that we are more interested in getting our way than being honest with the scriptures! It is OK to like or not like a practice and for a congregation's elders/leaders to direct in matters of opinion what the proposed practice for that congregation will be. But brethren, let's not "bite and devour one another" lest we be "consumed one of another" (Galatians 5:15). That, I fear, we are seeing in many places.
The interesting thing is that we get such tunnel vision on such matters that when someone speaks for or against a matter we judge them by if we agree with them or not. It is also sad that some of my brothers and sisters are such "hobby riders" that you may agree on 101 matters but if you disagree on #102 then you are either, at best suspect and at worst "unfaithful".
We had better be careful before we adopt a practice that may cause division OR before we write off (and thereby divide) those who practice something we don't like. The Lord hates division and "it's a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31).
END...A couple of quick posting rules:
1. If you are unchristian in a response I will block you.
2. If you determine to write something in objection to what is said or to others comments, THAT is fine. But if you do, you must not go under an alias. If you are going to argue be real and "own" your thoughts or I will delete them.
3. I know on the specific "issue" I named there are "other" arguments on both sides that are more valid than the two I mentioned. My purpose was not to give "the best" argument but to let you see how some illogically try to prove their point in such a matter that shows they are more interested in proving a like/dislike than an honest examination of the issue in light of the Scriptures. THAT SAID: Don't post your fav argument on the issue of clapping in worship here. There is MUCH that could be said from both sides - and plenty of heat that could be generated on this one - but that is not the purpose of this specific article.
4. Since it is my blog - I reserve the right to make more rules...
Thanks for reading. I hope you will actually think on this one some.