The Key to Unity

The number one benefit to studying for years at seminary is this…

I now know how much I don’t know.

Before seminary I knew there were a few things I didn’t know about Scripture. But, I thought with a little brushing up I’d just about have everything down. I was wrong. I studied subjects I didn’t even know existed. I studied hermeneutics, the Synoptic Problem and how we received the Canon. I learned about the Remonstrants and the Synod of Dort. I engaged in the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism and was introduced to Greek and Hebrew. And at the end of it all I carried away this one very important lesson…

I don’t know squat.

It’s ironic, really. When I knew less I was more confident in my knowledge. Now that I’ve learned so much, I realize just how much I have left to learn. A deep study of theology seems to provide two new questions for every one answer. Now, I never was a big fan of math, but even I can figure that one out. I have discovered that as we go deeper into our study of God we will likely discover that the task becomes more difficult. There will be more and more things over which believers disagree — count on it. I have also discovered that those who go deeper tend to become more and more amiable in their disagreements with other believers because they have discovered for themselves just how difficult is the task of serious Bible study.

There are, of course, doctrines over which there can be no compromise. The virgin birth, the resurrection, and the substitutionary atonement of Christ are non-negotiable. Without them there is no Gospel.

However, on other matters it is possible for Christians to have honest — and friendly — disagreements. It’s what Paul Himes calls, “How to disagree without being a jerk.

Very good advice.

About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

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