Last weekend we had some Christian friends over who belong to another denomination. As we were talking, the issue came up of differing doctrinal views. One friend asked me what the Adventist position was on hell. With a great philosophical argument, I presented the position of hell as annihilation (vs. eternal burning). Then she asked me a question—“What texts could you use to support that biblically?”
I stuttered through some texts with their contexts. I threw out some Greek and Hebrew words and their meanings. But the truth is…I was caught off guard.
As we ate dinner together, I admitted freely that it had been a long time since someone had challenged me about my view on hell. Then it hit me. The reason I’ve not been challenged is because most people I'm around either view it the same as me or don't care.
When our friends left that night, I got out my books and my bible, and I went right to work. It was great! I refreshed myself on the reasons why I believe what I believe, and I went to bed that night feeling good, yet still slightly disturbed.
Aside from the Authority of Christ and the Supremacy of the Word, some people think having differing Theological views is dangerous. They might argue that it creates an atmosphere of disunity. I would argue, however, that unity couldn’t be real without diversity. If everyone looks/acts/believes the same, then unity isn’t unity—it’s uniformity. Genuine unity comes from bringing together differing viewpoints/people/personalities and not dividing. In short, unity becomes more beautiful as diversity increases and people still stay together. (Rev. 7:9)
In Jesus’ prayer to His Father in John 17, He prayed “that they would be one as we are one.” Surprisingly enough, He said this unity would cause the world to know that “you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (vs. 23)
Is this wonderful or scary? What do you think? Is this what our church should be striving for?