Combating Division in the Church

In a recent post titled Unity in Diversity, Adrian Warnock discusses his approach to listening to voices within the Church that he doesn’t fully agree with.

The impetus of the post is the reaction of some members of the Christian blogging world to Rick Warren’s invitation to speak at the Desiring God conference. That John Piper would let Warren talk at the conference rankled some people so much that they publicly denounced Piper, and even went so far as to question the validity of his ministry.

The specifics of this situation aren’t all that important (if you’re interested, I’m sure google could help you find more information), but it does serve to showcase the sort of disagreement that happens frequently online. When we disagree with an action or statement a person makes, we want to dismiss everything they’ve done.

Warnock’s makes the point that regardless of how much we disagree with certain Christians, we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them. He points to Mark 9:40 in which Jesus states that “Whoever is not for us is against us.” In Warnock’s view, outright dismissal of people we don’t agree with is rarely—if ever—prudent. At the very least, carefully listening to them might help us learn more about ourselves.

Here’s an excerpt from the end of the post that discusses the value of listening to voices from different cultures within Christianity:

There are many different Christian cultures about. We have each developed our own ways of doing church and doing evangelism. We each have our own languages. This can lead us to misunderstand one another and talk past one another. The truth is, we can learn much from each other. Warren’s roots in a very different wing of the church are, to me, a fascinating thing that offers an opportunity for me to re-examine some of my own assumptions that may be almost unconscious to me. By asking why Warren does things the way he does, without judging him for it, I can learn more about why the people around me do things the way we do. Even if nothing changes in the way we do things, the end result will at least be that we have learned more about ourselves.
We must learn to function more like one army of Christ, while respecting and maintaining our differences, unless fully convinced by Scripture to abandon them.

Read the entire post over at

Have you ever been surprised to find that you agree with someone you previously thought you disagreed with? Do you think that we can learn from someone even if we have deeply theological disagreements?

One Response to “Combating Division in the Church”

  • Tim says:

    I have always said that one will not always agree 100% with what the preacher say’s, perhaps God has not shown you that truth yet, or the teaching does not apply to you, or you just plain disagree. It does not happen all the time but it does occasionaly. We are all growing in Christ and some are at different places than others.