On how not to be a schismatic – 1 Timothy 6:3-4
Think about what we hear in many URC circles about the evangelical position. It’s divisive, contentious, looking for arguments over unimportant issues, uneducated, simple.
That’s what I thought, anyway. Surely progressive Christianity was the way forward? Unfortunately, the Bible gave no encouragement in that belief. In fact, quite the opposite. Scripture teaches that Christianity is ultimately a conservative religion, concerned with handing on a message from one generation to the next and that those who seek to change that message are the real schismatics.
Paul couldn’t be clearer in this passage. “If anyone teaches a different doctrine…he is puffed up and understands nothing.”
This passage teaches us that there is a pattern of teaching which must be preached and adhered to. This passage teaches that this doctrine is linked to the Lord Jesus. This passage teaches us that there is a teaching that corresponds to godliness.
The question we must ask then is: Are we teaching that pattern of sound words? Or do we think we know better?
Think of how things have gone in the 20th century. Was that a century of clinging to old doctrine? Or was it, on the whole, a century when words like atonement, salvation, Gospel, were redefined to suit modern sensibilities?
If you’ve ever attempted to show how clever you are by questioning the message of Paul then he has some news for you. You’re the one dividing the church. You’re the disillusioned one. You’re the one who is using the church to make a name for yourself.
There’s still time to change. There’s still time to repent and come back to sound doctrine. God did this for me, he can do it for you too.
You don’t want to be a schismatic do you?