China needs solid churches. There are so many here who have never heard the gospel. We can’t get side-tracked by focusing on starting churches of “every flavor” when there are so many without the truth. This can happen because we separate over “grey areas”. I mean the areas in scripture that are not black or white. The Bible doesn’t say either way is right or wrong. This hurts us in partnering with those who are truly of the faith and working towards the advancement of the gospel.
I have seen this between missionaries and it truly saddens me. I want to offer the following two cautions:
(1) We need to take caution not to authoritatively speak where the Bible doesn’t. Too many times we are guilty of making arguments from silence and over emphasizing scriptures about a general principle and dogmatically applying it to an area of life that the Bible doesn’t say much about.
(2) We need to take caution not to ignore Biblical principles and advice that we are given when making decisions about the areas the bible is silent on. Just because the bible is silent on an area doesn’t mean the biblical wisdom can’t guide us in making a proper decision.
In light of these two cautions, when making decision about grey areas we need to:
- Seek out what the Bible says about the subject.
- Study and know basic Bible principles.
- Ask for spiritual counsel from godly leadership.
- Apply the above “findings” and make a decision.
These four steps should help us make decisions in hard places. The next important thing to remember is that your decision isn’t a dogmatic position, meaning, someone could go through the same process about the same area and come to a different conclusion. This doesn’t mean you have to break fellowship with that person, or that person is wrong. Each of you are making the decision to the best of your ability based on the above criteria.
Churches and/or individuals that do not come to the same conclusions and do not have the exact same stand on “certain” grey area issues that we do, the following is proposed:
We are willing to fellowship with those who have not come to the same conclusions as we have in our personal lives and ministry. We believe that we should reflect the principles of 2 Timothy 2:24; Romans 14:1-6; Ephesians 4:3; and James 3:17. We recognize that, as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ we “must not strive, but be gentle unto all men,” we must not “despise or judge,” but “let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” while we “endeavor” to keep unity, and that “wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
In conclusion, China needs churches. China needs churches that believe sound doctrine. China needs men to start these churches. Men that aren’t worried about that petty issues as much as they are worried about the souls of men. Is that man you?