Should Christians Simply Unite Around the Gospel?

shoud christians simply unite around the gospel

Jesus prayed this for believers:

 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:22-23)

It is God’s will that believers live in unity.

According to Ephesians 4:13-15, we reach unity when we are mature, no longer infants tossed back and forth by the wind of teaching but instead speaking the truth in love.

Truth unites!

Paul says in Romans 16:

I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. (Romans 16:17)

What is it that causes disunity and divisions according to Romans 16? Teaching that is contrary to God’s word.

We are not told to compromise truth and simply love these people in the church - but to “watch out” for them and “keep away from them”. That’s a hard truth right? I mean who are we to judge…and how is that loving and kind to “keep away” from certain people? Shouldn’t we be loving these people, welcoming them into our circle so we can help them see the truth?

Let me share my personal journey from before I was a blogger.

In college at the Moody Bible Institute, I became close friends with many women from different denominations. This is when I learned, that though we all had different experiences in our home churches – we were united around the gospel and most other non-gospel issues.  There were debates across dining room tables but we always ended in unity of love.

Then I graduated from college…

In 1998, I had been married for about 10 months and was living in a new city while my husband finished up his college degree.  I had friends but no Christian ones.  I longed to have a Christian friend I could talk to about spiritual things.  And then one day – she waltzed through the door.

Kima!

Kima loved Jesus something fierce. She was bold in prayer – bold in sharing the gospel and full of joy.  We connected immediately and became close friends.

But quickly I would learn that we had glaring denominational differences.  Over our lunch break we would discuss our differences and even open the Bible together to discuss hard passages.  Behind closed doors we disagreed but in the work place – we were united.  We prayed for our unbelieving friends, shared the gospel together, wrote verses on post-it notes to encourage each other and I don’t think anyone in the workplace knew that we had any disagreements because together, we ministered in unity.

Could Kima and I have led a Bible Study together?  Would I have promoted a book written by her?  Would I have invited her to speak at my Women Living Well Conference.

No.

The reality is once we turned one page past the gospels of the New Testament – and drifted into the Pauline Epistles – our paths separated in our beliefs.  Leading together from a platform would have caused confusion.

And this is what I am experiencing currently in the female blogging world.

There is a lot of talk about uniting around the gospel despite some very real differences like roles of women in the home and church, definition of marriage or authority of scripture.  Different denominations, self-proclaimed Reformed, Emergent, Charismatic and Catholics are all sharing platforms together at conferences, contributing to group blogs or promoting each other’s books.

I personally think this is very confusing.

Can we unite around common causes such as feeding the hungry, saving young girls from sex trafficking, caring for the orphans and pursuing clean water for those around the world.  Yes.

Can we sing worship songs together in unity – yes.

Can we proclaim the gospel together- yep!

Can we sit around dinner tables together and enjoy friendships – a thousand times – yes.

But can we follow Jesus’ mandate to make disciples of all nations “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”  together?

I’d say my generation believes that indeed we can and they are attempting it.

I will be very very very unpopular for saying what I am about to say.  (I expect tomorrow for a bunch of bloggers to unfriend me – Lol!)

But I think if we lay down sound doctrine (if you are not sure what I am referring to as “sound doctrine” –read last Monday’s post) in favor of uniting around the gospel:

1.) We are intellectually dishonest.  The minute we turn one page past the books in the Bible that are called “The Gospels” – there will be divisions.  The minute this “united group” turns to Romans 1 and what God’s word says on homosexuality or Ephesians 5  and the roles of men and women in marriage or the book of Titus on eldership and leadership in the church – the unity will be broken. Why? Because of unsound doctrine in the midst.

2.) Any Bible teaching ministry that unites around the gospel but not around sound doctrine – will be an inch deep and a mile wide. It will be shallow. This “Bible” ministry will not be able to move into the Pauline Epistles without confusion and divisions.  Someone is teaching false doctrine and that will be uprooted when they move on to the meat of the word.  So they will have to avoid meat and stick to the milk –so as to not offend each other.

I am in the minority when I say that I have grown extremely uncomfortable with all the uniting and no one being willing to divide over truth – something that (read my last post) we are called to do!  Oh lukewarm church – when will we stop fearing man and start fearing God.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

Friends, we must be wise- we must know God’s word. We must be discerning.  We must compare every blogger, author and speaker’s words line by line to scripture.  Scripture is our authority! God is our authority!  And scripture speaks emphatically about sound doctrine (again read last Monday’s post for these scripture references.)

But let me close with this thought.  When we say we are uniting around the gospel and then attempt to preach the word (not just the gospel – but principles for living out the gospel in our lives) and tip toe around certain passages, we compromise.

We must unite around the gospel for evangelistic purposes.  But if the church wants to move on to maturity through the meat of God’s word the options are…

Turn a blind eye to false doctrine or take a stand for truth.

Allow confusion to seep into the church or teach with clarity the words of scripture.

Compromise…or divide.

I beg my generation to stop.  We do not need to neglect God’s word to be relevant.  God does not need our help by concealing truth so people are not offended.  Know scripture.  Have courage.  Stand on truth.  The truth will set us free!  Free from false doctrine and sin.

Do not fear man. Fear God Alone!

Do not fear dividing.  Because just as Jesus himself prayed that we would be united – he also said these very hard words below about dividing…

Matthew 10:28-38

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.For I have come to turn“ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.“ Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

 

My relationship with Kima was a blessing.  We loved each other so much that we were honest with each other.  Neither of us shied away from speaking what we believed as we attempted to find unity behind closed doors.  We never did reach it. But we loved each other anyways…and a few years later Kima died of brain cancer and I am certain she is with Jesus today.

Sisters in Christ, let’s unite around the gospel.  Let’s unite on everything we possibly can.  But let’s also study up, speak up and build up the body of Christ with truth.  Fear God Alone.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

The other posts in this series:
Speaking the Truth In Love
The Authority of Scripture and 5 Ways to Defend Truth
The Ultimate Cultural Sin –Intolerance
How to Respond to the Labels – Intolerant, Judgmental, and Hater
What is Sound Doctrine?
Should Christians Simply Unite Around the Gospel?
Can a Woman Be an Elder or Pastor?
Should a Wife Submit To Her Husband?
Can Good Works Save You?
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

 

Comments

  1. Excellent post, Courtney. I’ve enjoyed all of your posts in this series. They have ministered to me, so thank you for your courage in posting them and daring to be unpopular. God bless!

  2. I will be praying for you. Not an easy post to write but it is very important. Thank you for your heart that is sold out for the Gospel and the truth of scripture. You are an encouragement, for me, every time I read your posts!

  3. Great post! Completely on point with what I believe is the most pressing issue in the Christian community today. If you are willing to bend on what one part of Scripture says, so we don’t offend someone, where do we stop compromising?

  4. Thank you for speaking truth! We are too often swayed by men and a false belief that we must love over everything else, but the Bible says first to love God, THEN our neighbor. We can’t love others properly if we don’t love and fear God first. Praying for you as you speak on this topic that more men and women would have their eyes opened to the truth and that we would stand up together to live how the Bible tells us to live.

  5. Right on!! This is how I feel. There is one particular author and blogger that I follow……somewhat. I bought one of her books even. When the whole Duck Dynasty “controversy” broke this blogger said she could only love people to Christ and not say things to hurt them, even though scripture does speak on this topic, because the Church has hurt so many people in its attempt to evangelize. Now I am paraphrasing because I can’t remember exact verbage about it but she mentioned she would err on the side of love.

    Needless to say this post had loads of comments. Many responses agreed with the author and said she was a breath of fresh air and then there was a lot of folks like myself who were quite taken aback that she would not address this issue. She simply would love someone. Now I am not against loving anyone. But we are also to speak the truth. I mean if you know that your best friend is having an affair, you aren’t willing to tell them what scripture teaches ? You will simply love them? Let me once again say I am not proposing shunning your friend, turning your back on them but………..we do need to be able to again use the phrase, speak the truth in love.
    My denomination is conservative and does not share the pulpit with pastors from other denominations. Some parishoners think this may be a bit extreme but you do have to draw the line somewhere. Are we saying others aren’t Christians? No, not at all but this is saying we differ on certain subjects. Some subjects are NOT salvation issues and I hope that we all can agree on the Gospel and the only way we can have that salvation.

  6. I love you and agree with your stand. I have a hard time sharing other bloggers info if I don’t know where they stand on issues – and I am glad you are willing to be honest about it with us! <3 Keep standing strong- and know I am praying for you tomorrow as this post goes LIVE! :)

  7. Thankyou again for another great post! This series has been such a challenge, but it’s also refreshing to see people not afraid to stand up for the truth. I pray for the same boldness and passion for God’s word!

  8. Thank you Courtney for being an ambassador of Christ, and standing on God’s promises!
    Let us bear fruit for God and His Kingdom!

    Love in Christ Jesus
    Emma.x

    1 John Chapter 3 verse 19
    “And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him”

  9. I agree wholeheartedly with you Courtney. Thank you for writing and sharing truth!! It is exactly what needs to be said these days. :)

  10. I agree. In our baptist church, the division is centered around calvanism. The Baptist church seems to be going down the path that we should all get along and accept each other’s differences. Sure sounds nice. Meanwhile, I send kids to Sunday school classes where some of my kids have been taught that we have free will, others have been taught that Eve (and we) have no choices. Everything was planned and even each sin was orchestrated by God. Whoever has the great idea that we can all worship together is definitely past the child rearing years and has not driven confused children home from church.

  11. Wonderful, well thought out post and I totally agree with you.

  12. Barbara H says:

    Don’t mean to be the voice of dissension, but it just sounds so conceited to me to think that one person has all the ‘right’ answers and another is wrong. Whether we like it or not, everyone picking up the Bible will interpret it in some way, shape, or form.

    • Barbara – thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree that it would be conceited for anyone to think they have all the right answers. This series is all about recognizing that the Bible is the only answer. God’s word is the standard. It defines truth. We must lift the word of God higher and put man’s opinions lower.

      Truth is reality – what really is. The Bible is truth – it is not subjective – or determined by the subject or person. It is not relative to time, location and people groups. It is absolute truth.

      Scripture was written with one intent in mind and we must work hard as students of the word to decipher the truth from false doctrine. That is why it is so important that we don’t just merely listen to bloggers (like me ;) ) or authors or speakers and accept what we say (or our “interpretations) but rather compare every word we say line by line to scripture. I encourage you to read my previous post linked above titled “What is sound doctrine?” God not only expects us to know his truth but he also expects us to refute error. In order to refute error – we must decipher the absolute truth. There is only one correct interpretation.

      Thanks again for your thoughts tonight.
      Lots of Love,
      Courtney

      • Christine C. says:

        See, I’m not sure that’s possible. I’m a PhD student in French, and all of my work is centered around interpreting literature. There may well be one absolute truth, but human beings are utterly incapable of knowing it, because we have the limitation of language. We can certainly know what a text says to us, but that’s shaped by our own experiences, culture and language. Given these limitations, we can only try to decipher the truth, while acknowledging the futility of the task.

        • You make some really good point Christine. The Bible was written mostly in the hebrew language by Hebrews living in a hebrew culture. So if we are to look at Scripture and interpret Scripture that’s a really great place to start!

          • Christine C. says:

            But while the Hebrews were exceptionally meticulous about recording their culture, it’s still a couple millenia removed from ours. I think it’s intellectually dishonest to claim that we know for a fact how the Bible’s original audience understood the various texts that make up the Bible.

            I mean, think about all of the ways in which the Church has fractured over the years. Each denomination represents a significant difference in interpretation of the Bible, where each side thinks that they are absolutely in the right, and that their opinion is backed by Scripture. Nobody goes around promoting a doctrine that they think is unsound, and no religious movement within Christianity would gain any traction if it wasn’t able to use Scripture to argue for it.

  13. Catherine says:

    1 Corinthians 11:15 “But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since that is one and the same as having her head shaved.”

    Have you prayed without covering your head? Or have you interpreted this clear instruction as something cultural or contextual?

    During the time of abolition in the USA, both sides strongly felt that they had the Bible and Gods truth on their side!

    I feel as Christians we need study the Bible diligently and let the Holy Spirit guide our understanding. But we also have to strive to consistency in our method of interpretation. I feel that when we pick and choose verses, without admitting that we are, in fact, picking and choosing, we are in danger of turning people away from the Gospel! When we say that we, as a family, church, denomination or country have found the interpretation that is the only Truth (or at least very close to it), I feel we underestimate the mystery and the awesomeness of the Lord!

    Blessings to you!

    • Catherine –

      When we are deciphering the meaning of a Biblical passage it’s important that we always take it in context. The verse you quoted above – is in the midst of a passage in I Corinthians where in the chapter proceeding (Ch.10) matters of conscience are being discussed such as whether a believer can eat meat. The conclusion is some may have one conviction and others may have another and it’s a matter of the heart not a matter of the eating that God looks at. Eat to the glory of God.

      Then we move into the matter of the head covering. Here we see established order in the church:
      “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” (I Cor. 11:3) Then in verse 5 we see the verse you quoted above (you meant verse 5 not 15). The head covering was an outward expression of the heart that is the established order God has given for the church. It is the heart that God looks at – not a wearing of the head covering.

      Following this passage Paul immediately instructs the church on how to perform the Lord’s Supper. This also suggests that when Paul is referring to the head coverings, this would be in reference to the assembly meeting of believers. You asked if I pray or prophesy without my head covered. I do not – I do not pray out loud or prophesy out loud in my Sunday worship services.

      Now, for those who do cover their head. This is a matter of conviction that I respect. They are choosing to follow this passage literally to symbolize the humility of their heart. I live in a Mennonite and Amish area and the women who follow this are simply beautiful, God fearing women that I admire. I was so blessed when a table full of women who had their head covered attended my conference. It showed that we were not allowing this to be a dividing issue amongst sisters in Christ.

      Thank you for bringing this up Barbara. It’s good to think, talk about and grapple with these very real issues in scripture.

      Lots of Love,
      Courtney

      • Barbara H says:

        But from how I understood your article, you would call any ‘head coverers’ as those with unsound doctrine. Whether we care to admit it or not, we all pick and choose which portions of the Bible we take literally and which passages we choose to emphasize over others. There aren’t too many Christians out there that would allow for polygamy, but many Old Testament fathers, even King David did. And as mentioned above, during the slavery era slave owners justified their actions with the Bible.

        • Barbara- let me respond line by line:

          You wrote: “From how I understood your article, you would call any ‘head coverers’ as those with unsound doctrine.”

          My thoughts: When I wrote this post head covering was not on my mind and you will find it no where in this post above. This is a non-issue for me. As I said in my comment above – in real life I live in unity with women who cover their head and in my 6 years of blogging I have not seen anyone divide on this issue. This is not a core issue of doctrine but rather one of conviction.

          You wrote: “Whether we care to admit it or not, we all pick and choose which portions of the bible we take literally and which passages we choose to emphasize over others.”

          My thoughts: This is exactly my concern in the universal church today. We do not have the option to pick and choose – we must accept the entire counsel of God’s word. That is why I am writing these posts – to not turn a blind eye to certain passages simply to unite. As followers of Christ – we do not have this liberty. I stand on the entire counsel of God’s word.

          You wrote: “There aren’t too many Christians out there that would allow for polygamy, but many Old Testament fathers, even Kind David did..”.

          My thoughts: You used the word “literal” in your previous sentence but the Bible was not all written in literal form. Some are poetry, some are historical narrative, some are prophetic, some are literal. We must take God’s word in its context, compare it to other scripture when it is unclear and work hard to dig to find the truth that God is revealing to us through his word. David not only practiced polygamy – but he also committed adultery and murdered. All three of these practices are sinful. All we have to do is look further into other passages in scripture to find this truth.

          It is good to ask these questions Barbara. Thank you.

          Lots of Love,
          Courtney

          • Hi Courtney,

            Who gets to decide which texts are narrative and which are literal? Who gets to pick which issues are core issues?

            I would like to hear your opinion on this: Does the Bible support the practice of slavery? If not, why?

          • Hi Anna,
            To address your comment on slavery…this is something my husband and I have studied sticking completely to the Scriptures. For example, when it comes to Egyptian slavery, they were very cruel to the Israelites (and any other peoples/nations they enslaved) This kind of slavery can very much so be looked upon as the slavery we once had in our own country. When it comes to slaves in the Bible there are slaves, servants and bondmen. Back then they knew the laws of the land and the majority of the time people (especially Hebrews) couldn’t be sold into slavery without consent. I know this sounds weird however there were multiple reasons for being sold into slavery. If your father passed away and left debt unpaid it fell to the oldest son. If he couldn’t pay his father’s debt then he would agree to be “sold” into slavery. Terms would be ironed out between both parties as to the amount of time that would be “served” in repayment of the debt. In the Hebrew community slaves, servants and bondsmen were treated poorly. They were treated as employees are today. They were provided for and in many cases their families were taken care of as well. When a Jubilee Year came around all debt was erased and everyone was set free to go back to the lives they had before. It’s awesome because in a way it’s like everything was reset. Land was even given back to it’s original owner. This is a lengthy subject that could go on and on so I would encourage you to really search out the Scriptures. I don’t believe the Bible supports slavery in the way we think of it however if there is an agreement to work for something in place of payment then that should be respected. We do that with our boys from time to time. If they want something expensive then we give them extra chores to do to work towards that goal.

          • In my comment I said, “In the Hebrew community slaves, servants and bondsmen were treated poorly.” I meant to say that slaves, servants and bondsmen WEREN”T treated poorly. They weren’t abused or neglected.

      • I agree Courtney that this is a personal conviction, and God looks at the heart.

        To accurately interpret scripture we must put it into it’s rightful context.

        1 Corinthians 11:

        Verse 3 – To me, the key here is Paul is speaking of headship, order within marriage, submission and relationship with God.

        Verse 4 – A man shouldn’t have long hair; he is to be masculine.

        Verses 5 & 6 – Referring to A woman’s covering of long hair, during her prayer time and relationship with God. Symbolizes her submission to God and her husband. If her hair is shaved like a man, it is a shame unto her, God and to her husband. God wants the woman and her hair to be feminine, to distinguish her from her husband; and to honor God.

        (That’s how I see this verse, but I’m open to different viewpoints.)

        Verse 7 – The man is the image of God, and the woman the image of the man.

        Verse 14 – Nature itself tells us it’s a shame for a man to have long hair; it dishonors God.

        Verse 15 – But if a woman has long hair it is a glory to her and is given for a covering.

        I have dear Chrstian friends who wear head coverings and I respect that. Personally, I look at it as symbolic and a matter of one’s convictions; I can’t see how this could be a sin issue. To me it is a secondary issue – not something to fall out over, or divide. Since I was small I have seen it this way.

        I don’t know if there are implications to a separate covering here; maybe cultural from back then? Or is a covering relevant today? In Heaven we will all know for sure and agree; and we will find out what we were wrong on. I know this is a contentious subject, but these are God’s words, not mine.

        Important fundamental truths we should all know and practice: Repentance from sin, Forgiveness, Holiness, Purity…etc.

  14. Hi Courtney!
    I must say, I was really surprised to read this post from you. I didn’t think I would, as I thought you were one of those bloggers that tended to shy away from doctrinal differences and not discuss them. I thought this was a very effective post. Thank you very much for writing it. I am a gal, who grew up in a Baptist church, which is a different stripe from Southern Baptists, etc. It’s “independent of any denominational affliliation,” which means they don’t believe in any “head” except the Lord Jesus Christ. Lately, I’d wanted to explore trying out different churches, partly because I was bored at the church I grew up in, and I wanted a place that seemed to reach out more to the local community rather than just talk about it. However, after attending an event at another church today, to hear the “vision” of the church, etc., I began to feel like I don’t belong there. I can’t reconcile their beliefs with what I’ve been taught about certain doctrinal differences…I thought perhaps I was open to it, but maybe I’m not. (I guess this is a good sign? Being brought up hearing sound doctrine, it’s hard to accept any other teaching..) So, anyway, I will probably end up going back to the church that I grew up in…I guess you do at some point discover what’s the “meat” of the Word, rather than the “milk” of the Word. So Praise God, right? Thanks so much for posting this!! I’d love to read more posts like this.

  15. I too agree with Catherine, It is wrong to claim what we interpret from a verse is what the actual truth is. There are churches in some parts of the world who follow women covering their head during worship strictly to date. But they cannot claim that they are right and others wrong. For obvious things like greed, lust, anger and other such sins it is more easier to understand what the bible teaches, but in some others contexts, verses are interpreted differently! Most important of all is, the changes we make to the journey we take in life…..to become as close to a righteous person as we can!

    • Leigh Ann says:

      I don’t understand why people keep mentioning head covering. That’s not a core issue and it doesn’t matter. You either believe that God’s Word is absolute truth or you don’t. If God has given us The Bible and it is truth than He will give us the ability to decipher the truth. If we are walking with Him in fellowship we will be aligned with His truth. That’s how we can be sure we know the truth. God IS involved. It’s not just us trying to figure out what the Bible means, it’s us walking in fellowship with God. The closer we come to fellowship with Christ, the more unified we will be with others who are in fellowship with Him. That’s the difference.

  16. I am so greatful that God has brought me out of unsound doctrine to sound. It is so had to stand against the tied. I’m in Australia the home of Hillsong and weak feel good church nonsense. The life of a Christian is not ment to be comfortable being striped of the self to become like Christ. Have we forgotten how many people died in the reformation so we could worship freely in truth. Satan hates truth and he wants to distract as many as he can from it. We are called to be holy as He is holy only in accepting that He and His word is the only way we can get there. We must stand on truth, Christianity is about what He has done and what He wants me to do for Him not what makes me feel good. If you can read Paul and feel comfortable you need, must question are you really in love with Christ and are willing to truly follow Him.
    Thank you Courtney for standing up for Christ and Truth. May God protect and hold you and your family in the shadow of His wing.

  17. Amanda Cross says:

    I’m thankful for the verse about the head covering that was brought up. How many churches and Christians ignore this because it doesn’t sound relevant to today? We should be asking, why did Paul say that? What did Jesus teach about this? The Apostles taught what Jesus taught. Jesus taught the Law given by Moses except we learn about grace through Jesus. What did the Law of Moses say about this? This should bring us face to face with scripture where we look into it diligently rather than forming our own opinion or going by what someone has said. We should check our pastors and teacvgers by being diligent in knowing God’s Word ourselves. I used to read the Bible very subjectively and without any kind of system. The question was “what does this mean to me” not “what did the author mean”. I had some very wrong ideas. I’ve heard people say we should unite around the gospel and the essentials. On the non-essentials, unity or agree to disagree. I have accepted that. But I’m challenged to through this post to find out what scripture says and to challenge other believers to also find out what scripture says and not to be content to ignore portions of scripture because they have been historically divisive. When God spoke to the children of Israel, He meant one thing. It was when they forgot what He said and began to do right in their own eyes that they got into trouble. We do well to find out all that He says and not do what’s right in our own sight or our own thinking.

    • Hi Amanda – thank you for your comment. I just wanted to mention that I addressed the head covering passage in a comment above. I agree that it is so very good for us to discuss these things and grapple with them and determine what God is really asking of us so we can walk in obedience.

      Lots of Love,
      Courtney

      • Courtney. Awesome post! I stand behind you all the way,and most importantly God stands behind you. “Unity”, isn’t that what the “One World Religion” will demand in the end times? Getting along at the sacrifice of scripture is paving a road to hell. God bless Courtney, keep upholding the Book.

  18. Amen, amen, amen! Thank you for this encouraging post, Courtney. I am SO glad you brought up the issue of bloggers and authors today who are filling too much of their posts and books with “fluff” instead of truth. I’ve found myself becoming more aware of this recently, trying to filter every word I take in from someone else and line it up against the only Word that matters, and that is the Word of God. Jesus said that we would have enemies in this world, and that we who share the truth of the Gospel would suffer persecution for His namesake. Walking the Christian life will not and should not be easy, as much as our flesh often wants it to be. I am SO grateful for women like you who are strong enough to stand up for the Truth! Thank you for being such an inspiration, and for instilling courage and motivation in others like myself. God is using you in powerful ways, girl! ;)

    Blessings,
    Kim

  19. DeeAnn Stichter says:

    YES! YES!! YES!!! This is happening everywhere and frankly, it scares me to death! Thank you for writing this!!!

  20. Courtney, you are a beacon of light in the world! I am so very supportive of you and your ministry, and I’m been extremely blessed in every post from this series. I’ve craved someone seeking biblical insight and truth to shed light on this matter that so many people of influence tend to dance around in the name of love. As far as so many others being afraid to speak truth (even in honest love) in fright of offended or “judging”, I think of how harmful would it be to my children whom I love with all my heart, if I never corrected or taught unabashed truth of any sort out of fear from damaging our relationship…. That would be absurd at the least and unloving at most! We shouldn’t use our fears to guide our ministry, relationships, or anything for that matter! Standing on God’s Word and truth in genuine love with a humble heart is what we’re called to do! You’ve inspired me to dig deeper in His Word and ask the Lord to reveal truth about scripture to me in a more intimate way so I can be more effective in the Kingdom. Thanks Courtney!!!
    Blessings,
    Leslie

  21. When I was a kid (I’m in my 20′s) there was soooo much division between churches. We grew up Assembly of God and, boy, if you went to the Brethren church or the Catholic church or the Baptist church down the road… you just had it all wrong. Judgements and bad attitudes abounded. This was the attitude that I was raised on… Now my parents go to a non-denominational church and a Catholic church… yep. There was some major changes of heart, I guess.

    Anyway, I think the unify, unify, unify is a reaction to that feeling from a couple decades ago. And also, a call. The division of churches and discord is a major turn off to many non-Christians. I, for one, am sick of the discord.

    I look at churches around me and see a theme, if you will, there are so many different passages in the Bible that can relate to many areas of our life at the same time. It’s like they look at scripture through the Holy Spirit’s lens and then through their own passion (whether it be money management, community outreach, missions, the poor, the widows, etc). And that’s their church’s focus. There are so many aspects of Jesus too and different parts of Him that speak to a person the most. And it seems like that aspect can correspond with the kind of church you go to.

    Anyway, I don’t know where I’m getting with all this… I just know there are a lot of hurt feelings when non-salvation issues are debated so strongly and there is no agree to disagree or the knowledge that human, sinful people interrupt scripture differently sometimes.
    I cover my head during church. I have no other friends or no one else at my church covers their head. I feel led to do it and it made sense to me to cover when I read the Bible for myself. I understand it doesn’t make sense to some of my other Christian friends for whatever reason, so they don’t. There are going to be non-salvation disagreements and it seems pointless sometimes to debate them if we both feel that we are right. It does make sense unite around the Unite-r, Jesus Christ… He gives us enough food to last a lifetime.

  22. Hi, Courtney,

    I agree with you. I do have a question though.

    So, my brother is gay. My parents (because of my brother’s gayness, I think) have chosen to see the Word through their own eyes. When I try to stand for Truth I am now ridiculed for my beliefs; this is the same family that took me to Bible teaching, hands raising, meaty doctrine churches. (My heart was so hurt by this last fall I was sick for 3 months!) I am now questioned by my father if I would sell my daughter (7) into slavery. The Bible says I could! And if I wouldn’t do that then I can’t stick to the homosexual stand that is taken in scripture either. My father has gone from being on fire for Jesus when I was a little girl so thinking the Bible is just a bunch of guys trying to control a group of people with fear way back when (Israelites, O.T.).

    There was a clip taken from a Law and Order episode where the President in the show just pummels the author (a Christian author) with such examples. You can probably find it on You Tube. My mother and father posted it on their FB page. I have a great uncle that was married and a missionary to the Phillipines for 30 years! After 40 years of marriage he “came out” and his family desserted him. He is now teaching the gay community that what they’re doing is OK and that they can be Christians as well, with every promise God has given even while practicing homosexuality. My mother loves her uncle and has taken to his teaching.

    Maybe this is a snide comment but it keeps ringing in my head because of my pain, “They’d rather go to hell with my brother than Heaven with me.” They are sacrificing their own salvation because they are unwilling to think that my brother won’t be with them in Heaven some day. I know parents will do anything for their kids. I guess this speaks of their great love for him. But like you said, we are to love our LORD before any other human beings.

    Beyond this… my brother and his partner, of 9 years (own a house together) slander us with comments as being judgemental and poisoning our children’s minds with the simple teaching “Homosexual marriage is not part of God’s design.” They go further to avoid knowing their nephew and neice… not coming to birthday parties, buying them the opposite sex toys for Christmas to spite us, they have yet to see our new home (almost 2 years), and giving tons of attention to my sister’s babies while ignoring mine. Of course they claim that “God made us this way,” so it’s not our fault. I have done nothing but love these two… until when I asked the family to support my son in his popcorn sales for the Cub Scouts they declined because they couldn’t support a program that didn’t support them. I should have let that go but I didn’t. I acted out in anger (finally) with a “When will you two start behaving like uncles!?” Well… that opened me up for the slander above.

    So, what would the bible have me do with this situation? WWJD?

    I should tell you that most recently, I felt led to apologize for my outbursts during this encounter. I tried meeting them where they are. I felt led to send them the movie “Frozen” with a simple card that said, “I’m sorry, I love you, Let’s try again. I would do for you what Anna does for Elsa”. My brother was my best friend when we were children.

    What would you do, Courtney? Should I “keep away from them”? What happens when they get married? Do we avoid the wedding? What happens when they adopt a child someday? Do I avoid all holidays because they will be there? (This would include my own father and mother as they are believeing unsound doctrine.) I really want to do what God would have me to do. My brother’s decision to give into his fleshly desires (dna element? I guess that doesn’t matter to God.) and my decision to stand firm in the Truth have caused a HUGE break in the family.

    Thanks,
    Joy

    • Hi Joy – It sounds as though there has been a lot of hurt in your family. I am glad to hear that you have apologized for your outbursts. I don’t think that I could unpack this whole situation and give you a firm answer. But my first thoughts are to encourage you to walk in the Spirit. Ask the Lord to help you walk in his ways through out this situation. The fruit of the spirit is – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. I encourage you to speak lovingly, gently, with kindness and self-control. And put it to heavy prayer.

      I would not worry about what the future holds with weddings and such and deal with today. Remember that we each answer alone before God for the decisions we make. Your brother will answer for his actions and you will answer for yours. We cannot control what others do but but we can control our response. Since your entire family is well aware of where you stand, I encourage you to not continue to make that the point of discussion.

      I’m reminded of Romans 2:4 where it says that “it is the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance”. I think that your kindness will speak volumes in this situation and could be the very thing that leads them to repentance…rather than strife and quarreling.

      So take some time to mend and just be a sister to your brother. I have multiple friends (and a family member) who are gay. I welcome them into my home and they have spent time with my children. I love them. If they were becoming preachers, writers, speakers etc. then I would separate from them. But they are friends and I treat them like all of my friends – in love.

      Hope this answers your questions.
      Lots of Love,
      Courtney

      • Thanks for your reply, Courtney, and I’m sorry for my delay in responding.

        Okay, so I’m taking away 5 things: 1) Treat them with love (I have), 2) Avoid the topic, 3) Pray, pray, pray, 4) Have self-control in my responses, 5) and don’t worry about future events.

        And further… be KIND, KIND, KIND.

        Unfortunately, they won’t leave #1 & 2 alone. They insist that I answer their questions, “Do you think we’re going to hell?” I have told them to ask God about it but they want my answer and I dance around it by giving them answers like “God loves everybody. Pray to Him.” They force me into answering what they already know the Bible says and what they do not want to hear and then call me judgemental.

        Then they insist that I don’t love them. They insist that in order to love them that I must love them wholly as they are and that includes loving their gayness too because “God made them that way”. To them love equals agreement. Since I do not agree with their homosexuality being designed by God they claim that I do not love them. But of course I love them wholly – in spite of their sin. It is a tangled up mess! (I haven’t talked about this with my brother since 1997. He and I had an agreement until recently (see above story).

        What should I do when they pressure me with these questions?

        My brother sent me an e-mail last weekend in response to my apology and movie that I sent him. He thanked me for them. In my apology I wrote “Let’s try again.” He and his partner wanted to know what “trying again” would look like before they agreed. I explained that we first needed to agree on a mutual respect (not necessarily an agreement for each other’s life, but the right to live it) for each other. It’s been 4 days with no response. Do you think I was asking for too much?

        Without mutual respect I’m afraid we will not be able to have a relationship. I cannot let my husband and children be in a hurtful relationship (one that makes fun of them); they come before my brother. Unfortunately, that would make larger family holidays and gatherings very uncomfortable. Is there any point where God says a Christian should separate from family members?

        I have tried living peacefully as possible “with them”. I don’t know what’s next. I guess that’s where God comes in. Pray, pray, pray.

        • Oh… and they are and have been invited to our home on multiple occassions but they avoid us. We are trying to love them but they just won’t let us… they want us to love them on their definition of total agreement.

          I’m amazed that your gay family members and friends enjoy your company and home. What is it about them and your relationship that makes them feel welcome? Do they have any “ultimatums” for you? Or do they let you be who you are too?

          Thanks!

  23. Yes! Spot on again. The only thing I would add is that what some are preaching as the gospel of Christ are really one of many false gospels-prosperity, social, humanism etc and not being discerning enough to even realize that it’s not the true gospel. These people want us all to unit around this which is not something true believers should compromise on. Thank you for this post so enjoy this series!

  24. Can I just say thank you? Thank you for standing up for the word. So often now the bible is just used as a tool to make people feel good. And that is alarming as a young person. I fear for what this world is turning out to be, but when I see that there are people still willing to say that the Bible is truth, gives me hope. Thank you for following the Lord’s leading to share what’s on your heart through this blog, it has been such an encouragement to me. Blessings to you for having the courage to say what the Lord is leading you to say. Thank you.

  25. Thank you for being willing to lovingly speak the truth. God is the standard, so there is right and wrong, even if the world doesn’t want to acknowledge it. Just because they don’t acknowledge it doesn’t mean it’s not true. (There’s lots of lashing out because there is lots of conviction.) Everyone can think and believe what they want (that’s the free will that God has given man), but God is still the standard, and we all must stand before Him and give account. Thank you for realizing and speaking out that there is great falsehood, under the guise of “good” things, that is creeping into our churches. Back to the Scripture. Keep standing bravely for truth. It won’t be popular, but it will be right. :-)

  26. Dealing with this too. So thank you!

  27. Keep it up, Courtney. I’m sure this was hard to write, and responding to all the feedback will probably be even more difficult. Just wanted to encourage you to continue to write what God puts on your heart. Thank you for your boldness in a time where everyone (including many pastors) are bending to the wind of “just get along…preach love, not judgment…don’t cause waves.” Thankful that you cause waves when the Holy Spirit leads you to! You go girl!

  28. THANKYOU for being brave enough to share this. I think that for you to share this with your generation is very significant. It is one of the things that has burdened me so much about the blogging world, and has made me hesitant to immerse myself 100 percent. I get overwhelmed by this very thing you shared. We will never have it all right…none of us. But some major error is being promoted and followed, and women are falling for it. I am thankful for your willingness to speak up! Beautifully done!

  29. We love you Courtney.

    Thank you for your faithfulness to the online community and to the Word of God!

  30. Oh Courtney,
    I can relate. Different circumstances here, I am not experiencing this in reading blogs because I only read ones that I feel line up with Scripture. My experience has been inside the church. It is alarming. I hope this doesn’t come across as self righteous but my fear and experience is that the culture is shaping our world view and not so much Christians shaping the world. Thank you for your willingness speak up and to be distinctive as a Christ follower. We do have to know, love and live out God’s Word. I pray for Pastors to teach the Word verse by verse. The whole Word and not just the easier passages. And for His people to receive it and apply it. May God continue to bless you and your family.

  31. I agree with everything you said Courtney. Well done. Thanks.

  32. Amen sister!!
    My beloved pastor has been under fiery attack recently for a conference he out on, and for some errant beliefs he is pointing out in another growing denomination. He has been among other things criticized for causing divisions. The Truth in nature is divisive, it is a narrow gate (even among believers) and great humility and care needs to be given to scripture study. I believe one of our biggest problems today is that people don’t want to think, meditate, or study the word on a level deeper than what is spoon fed them Sunday mornings. Bravo Courtney, for being willing to stand in what you believe and to encourage others in that as well. May we study thoroughly the word of God asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten our eyes and lead us into to wisdom and Truth. I hate division, but I hate false doctrine and a diluted gospel even more.

  33. Amen to all of this!! It is great to know there are still people out there that will stand for the TRUTH and not compromise just because everyone else is. I would take it one step further to say that it would even be difficult to join together for the gospel, because if they are not teaching TRUTH on the rest of scripture, they are not preaching the same “gospel” or “Jesus” either. Stand strong and be BOLD!

  34. Courtney, such an excellent post, thank you. I have been so frustrated about certain bloggers using their platforms to incorrectly teach God’s Word and leading people astray for the sake of “feeling good” and “tolerance”. Regarding interpretations, God wants us to know His Word, and gives us the tools to do so, and so I think the argument “it’s up to one’s interpretation” is weak and false.

  35. This was worth taking the time to read. I appreciate you standing up for the truth of God’s Word! I agree with everything you said! Thanks for your ministry!

  36. Courtney, I am so grateful that you were strong and courageous to write this wise post. I once believed the lie that scripture can be interpreted differently. I am so glad I continued to press in and seek the Lord, as I found Him (in a real relationship) as He promised (Jeremiah 29:13) and the power of His Holy Spirit has “lead me into all truth.” John 14:17. I now know first hand that what God included in the Word is true “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16

    May your challenging post bring conviction, humility, unity, and honor & glory to God.

  37. Jodie James says:

    Scripture interprets scripture, and those who do not have an intimate knowledge of it default to their interpretations. I believe that a lack of prayerful study of God’s word (in the pulpit and the pews) is a key issue.

  38. Courtney, I agree with you. Different people have different convictions. Like you said, we can unite on some things but it is confusing to try and unite different beliefs and convictions. The main thing we should do is to remember to do everything to the glory of God.

  39. Courtney, thank you for sharing your Kima story – such a beautiful example of how we can live the truth in love. Oh, that I would love well while standing on the entire council of God’s Word!

  40. Courtney, I echo many others to say ‘Well Done!” Whether people dislike what you say or not…the part that should make all of this so clear on where you’re coming from is your encouragement & direction to point people TO THE WORD OF GOD. Great job! Way to be courageous! Way to be loving :) Way to be an awesome beacon of light! I’m so proud of you, sister! :)

    & haven’t read all the comments to see if this was already pointed out but I just want to affirm that you are being SO LOVING… we have a worldly thought often times about what love looks like… but Christ defines it in the Word of God> 2 John 1: 6 “And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.”

    You are being oh so loving, my Friend :) Keep it up!!!

  41. Beautifully said, Courtney, and so convicting!!! Thank you for being such an inspiration and for being so honest!! Blessings to you and yours!

  42. Marcia L. Jackson says:

    Thank you Courtney for speaking God’s truth in love. I have felt the same way for a long time and we cannot serve the Lord in truth in love if we are watering His gospel and His truths down. Please continue to search the Scriptures and teach and share them in love and truth…

  43. Thank you for your post today and I agree with most of it. The only thing that I can see that I am really struggling with is that the verse you sighted in the beginning: Romans 16:17; I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. (Romans 16:17) You say that we can be friends and eat with them etc. But doesn’t this passage say to keep away from the ones who cause division? Maybe I misunderstood where you were going with your blog, but I thought you were saying it’s okay to sit and eat with them and be friends with those who cause such division. Please clarify…and thank you!

    • You are right Amber, that is confusing now that you point that out.

      What I tried to say but didn’t state clearly is we should be willing to – behind closed doors speak truth in love to those who are twisting God’s word or teaching another gospel. The hope would be that through holding out the truth to them in love, they would change. If they do not change and they continue to hold firmly to false doctrine – teaching it – writing it – speaking it – spreading it – we must divide and separate ourselves from them.

      In my friendship with Kima – she was continually learning and growing to the point that she asked me if I would type up my thoughts for her and bring her more books on the topic so she could study it further. She was truly seeking to understand scripture and at the same time – she was sending home cassette tapes with me to listen to – so I could listen to her beliefs. Humility and an open dialogue on both ends allowed us to continue our friendship.

      What I see as dangerous is staunch opposites uniting… If someone is openly proclaiming falsehood – and another lovingly holds out truth to them (possibly over dinner) and they reject it – I believe the Bible is the dividing line. It is the word of God dividing us.

      Thanks for the question.
      Lots of Love,
      Courtney

  44. Courtney,
    I just wanted to tell you thank you for all of your posts, but mainly this last series on TRUTH. It is like you were reading my mind with each word on the page. I have been so disillusioned and saddened by the compromising stance that so many female bible teachers that I once respected have taken. I have struggled lately with where to draw the line. When does compassion become compromise? How do I teach my children to love people enough to confront them with their sin? How do I show my neighbor compassion, yet not condone sin? When do I cross the line from compassion to compromise? I see that Jesus was 100 percent compassionate, yet zero percent compromise. I, however, am just a wretched sinner saved by grace. It is hard for me to not seek approval, or fall the other way into judgment. I am just praying for wisdom from above, the wisdom that James speaks of, to guide my actions and words.
    I so appreciate your straight-forward, scripture driven, style of teaching. Keep fighting the good fight, because you are encouraging women like me. I can’t imagine how hard it is to receive scathing emails attacking you and those you love. Please let this be encouragement to hang in there. You are making a difference- a KINGDOM difference. I look forward to reading your emails each week. You are a light in a dark world. I pray abundant blessings over you and your family and your ministry.

  45. Well said! I commend you for daring to be unpopular. It was the example Christ set for us as well. Thank you for your honesty and your boldness for the sake of the gospel.

  46. I think what you are saying is just because a blogger, author, or speaker says they are a Christian does not mean everything they preach is correct with what the Bible teachers. You are encouraging us to be cautious and line everything up with scripture and if they are incorrect stand with the Word instead of with them. I enjoyed your post and was encoueaged by it!

    I wrote on a similar topic this morning before I clicked over here. You echoed exactly what I was trying to say. Read God’s Word, research the scriptures, and look at the context. I find study Bibles very helpful.

    Thank you for your ministry, Courtney. :)
    Cooking Up Faith
    http://www.cookingupfaith.org

  47. Leigh Ann says:

    I absolutely agree and this is a timely post. I have been wrestling for the past year about Mormons in my community who say they believe in the Gospel but our similarities end there. Thank you for speaking the truth. I’m thankful we will someday finally have perfect unity in Heaven. When you see Kima again all will be right.

  48. Spot on. I appreciate your courage to tackle a difficult issue.

  49. Kitsi Tribble says:

    Hey Courtney! My sweet husband got me your book “Women Living Well”, for Christmas. I absolutely LOVE it! God spoke to me through your words. It was very comforting, in a world that looks down on many of the things you write about.

    I just read your post from today, and I love what you have to say. It’s so true! I will meet a sister in Christ and be so disappointed when I find out how misguided they are. I had my cousin tell me that the bible was not important to her, but she spoke to God all day and had a good relationship with him. I was shocked! I am so tired of watered down Christianity! I want truth and that’s it. Nothing else. You are amazing and i’m so glad I discovered your blog.

    Keep feeding us truth!

  50. AMEN! What we have found in ministry though, is that many times it DOES boil down to the gospel! Your view of the gospel changes EVERYTHING! It determines the way you view God, His Word, His commands, His church, His commission to share, His instructions for family life….EVERYTHING! If we dig deep enough into what the gospel TRULY is we will find the glaring differences. Sadly, most treat the gospel (as I did years ago) as something we “do”, something to check off our to-do list and then move on to more “mature things”. The gospel is SO DEEP, we could spend eternity studying it and still not scratch the surface. May we all become students of the gospel!

    • So very, very well said, Kelli.
      Doctrine matters and changes EVERYTHING! Everything!
      So alarming how humanity has twisted God’s Holy Word. God help us know, love and live out your Word.

  51. Thank you for being willing to speak truth here. This was an excellent post!

  52. Amen! And I’m standing with you in 100% agreement, Courtney, and I won’t unfriend you! Personally, I’d rather stand alone and be unpopular while I share the Truth, than stand with a group and be popular while I endorse a compromising message. This girl just won’t do that!

    And I certainly won’t endorse or recommend a book that doesn’t point to Jesus Christ for the mere fact that He is the Source of their positive message. If an author can’t publicly declare Christ in their book, then I can’t publicly declare their book.

    It’s hard to take a stand for Truth in this world, but this world is not our home. You’ve done and excellent job on this post and with this series and you’re not alone in your viewpoint. I share the same!

    Keep pressing on to lift Him up for all to see!

  53. Thank you, Courtney.
    I attend a reformed Baptist church, and being new to the faith, it has been difficult at times to accept some of the “hard truths” of the Bible…I guess what I have to remember is that it’s not about being ‘comfortable’ with the Word. As C.S. Lewis said, “The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
    Or, to put it another way, if we stand for everything, we’ll fall for anything.
    A unified church would be an amazing blessing, but if it relies on man to put his pride away and submit to the will of God before his own reason or worldly desires…well, we may be here for a while.

  54. KellyK(@RNCCRN9706) says:

    This definitely needs to be said & heard by a LOT of churches! It’s a big reason why I haven’t found a church home here in my town yet, The United Church of Christ has homosexual ministers, as does the United Methodist church, one in my town has an openly gay minister who kisses her girlfriend openly. The Lutheran church has a gay Bishop at it’s helm(their version of a Pope). So this is why I’ve had a hard time finding a church home as there’s no nondenominational churches in my town.

    I think this issue is what’s mainly causing the divide in the Church today.Then you have them throw at you the “love your neighbor” bible verses. And Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.So how do you answer that?

    • Jenn Dana says:

      The United Methodist Church does not allow homosexual pastors. Please research your facts before making statements like this.

      • They are trying to get a resolution passed to allow homosexual marriages to be performed in the United Methodist church. It was on the agenda at last year’s Annual conference but failed ,& it will be again this year as well. My pastor has said he will leave the United Methodist Church if this resolution passes add it goes against the Bible.

    • Jenn Dana says:

      Yes, we would allow a homosexual into our church as an attendee but we do not marry them or have pastors that are homosexuals.

    • Jenn Dana says:

      And, just to be even more clear, we would tell them lovingly that their lifestyle is wrong but we would not stop them from stepping through our doors and trying to learn more about Jesus and what he stands for.

      • I know what is going on in my area. Maybe you were misinformed but Several of that churches members have LEFT that church and joined my mom’s church because of that pastor. And there’s open homosexual relationships in that church which are being condoned by the ministers of that church.

        • At Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, they are trying to have homosexuality and marriage of homosexuals be permitted in the church. My mothers pastor told them that if this resolution passes…that if HE personally refused to do so, he could be Dismissed from being a pastor in the United Methodist pastor. and even be put in jail and he’d rather go to jail than break the laws of the bible. He also said that if that is the case, he will no longer be a member of the United Methodist religion. My mother’s congregation left the United Methodist Women’s organization because the monies they were sending them was being used to fund a Gay/Lesbian organization in California.

          The Annual Conference brought it up last year but it was voted down and according to the pastor of my Mom’s church, it will be on the agenda again this year. So, if you Jenn Dana do not believe me about this, please attend Annual Conference and you will see that I AM speaking the truth on this.

          • Who on earth could put him in jail? There is no law that says pastors have to marry gay people.

          • KellyK(@RNCCRN9706) says:

            I suppose the couple could sue him for violating their civil rites if gay marriage became illegal in that state. Gay couples have sued bakeries for refusing to make them a wedding cake and haven’t private photographers also been sued for the same reason? I’m just going by what he personally told my mother when the topic was brought up at one of the church’s board meetings of which she’s a member.

          • KellyK(@RNCCRN9706) says:

            *legal, not illegal

    • Existing on Empty says:

      Are you referring to Elizabeth Eaton in the Lutheran Church, ELCA? (The other Lutheran denominations– Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Synod, American Lutheran Church, North American Lutheran Church [the latter two broke off of the ELCA after they voted for gay ministers]– do not ordain homosexual ministers) I have met her and heard her speak. She is quite intelligent and knowledgeable of the Bible. (She has a Master’s in Divinity and likely a doctorate.) I don’t doubt that she is where she is meant to be. My husband is an ELCA pastor (as is my father) and that is a job I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

      Also, the bishop is just the head of the ELCA in the US, not the world as the Pope is with the Catholic Church. (There’s a job I don’t want.) I have issues with the ELCA, but it has nothing to do with the homosexuality issue. I’m not keen on the bishop of my synod as he seemed to judge first, then punish and then I think he asked questions. Not very Christian or pastor-like. (I am now not keen on church hierarchy. I’m also not keen on the ELCA church I currently attend as it’s my husband’s home church and I don’t feel as though it’s “my” church.)

      I’d like to go church shopping, but there aren’t any cars available on Sunday morning. (There is an NALC Lutheran Church in town, but I’ve not been able to check it out.) I don’t go to church often because I’m just not interested in going. (The issues I’ve had with the bishop, and my personal issues and months of prayer with no answers and things getting worse instead of better, contributes to that.)

      • KellyK(@RNCCRN9706) says:

        Yes, I’m referring to Elizabeth Eaton of the ELCA. That is the Lutheran denomination that my local Lutheran Church is a member of, and after finding out the their newly elected Bishop is gay, I no longer wanted to become a member of that church.

        Which is why I stated I was having a hard time finding a home church. With all these denominations even considering marrying homosexuals and then allowing them to be heads of the church. They are going against Biblical principals altogether. So, then where does that leave me? There’s a Church of God congregation, a Baptist congregation…but there’s things I don’t agree with that they profess…ugh..soo hard to find a church which preaches sound doctrine and really, it shouldn’t be.

        • Existing on Empty says:

          I neglected to say that not all of the ELCA churches agree with it. My husband’s first church is very conservative. They won’t even consider a woman pastor. (Never mind that the person who is really in charge of everything is a woman.) They do not agree with the homosexuality statements. One of the members has a daughter who is gay. She has a wife and they adopted a baby. They wanted the baby baptized and came to her home church to do so. (I don’t know if they have a church, but it’s common for people to go to their home church to have their babies baptized. My parents brought me to my father’s home church (where generations of his family has and are currently attending) for my baptism. Our six-year-old was baptized in my husband’s home church (he was in seminary at the time). I digress. Anyway, the service was on a Saturday as the family respected the church’s beliefs. I was uncertain about the whole homosexuality thing (and still am). However, when my husband was in seminary, I got active in an Episcopal church. The first Episcopal baptism I witnessed was that of a gay couple. During the course of the baptism, I realized that that loving couple might have rescued the baby from a life of abuse and unlove. Adoption is real inspiring, no matter the couple.

          Again, don’t discount the local church from what the main chruch body states. As I said, I’m not happy with the local synod bishop and really don’t want anything to do with the local ELCA churches because of it. It might be petty, but I think what he did (and didn’t do) helped shaped my current faith (or lack thereof).

          • KellyK(@RNCCRN9706) says:

            Heres the thing though, if the local church is part of the main church, as far as I’m concerned, they agree with the stance of the main church as long as they continue to remain a part of the main church(ELCA). If they disagree with the main church’s stance, then they ought to consider breaking away from them.

            If we believe what the Bible says, we have to believe EVERYTHING IT SAYS, not pick and choose what we want to believe.

  55. Truth! As long as it’s said in love..We are speaking the truth as set forth in the bible.

  56. And all God’s women said, AMEN. :)

  57. Joan Archuleta says:

    I totally agree with your post. Fear of offending someone should never cause us to not speak the truth of God’s Word–as long as we do it in LOVE. His Word is the same as when it was written. Just because “times have changed” doesn’t mean His Word has changed or is any less relevant than it was when it was written. It doesn’t change–we must change to conform to It.

  58. What I love about this post is that you are pointing out differences while being completely respectful towards others like your friend Kima. But for some reason people can not fully comprehend that a person {you} can speak truth without judgment behind it. You are stating facts. You didn’t see eye to eye on all issues but that doesn’t mean you hate, dislike or look down on others because of it. I wish people would understand this barrier. Great discussion in the comments too!

  59. Courtney, thank you for being bold and sharing this. From your blog and your book, I can safely assume you and I are of the same mind. I’ve struggled with the more progressive viewpoint myself and I found that I needed to listen, really listen, to their perspective. It was necessary for me to understand the “whys” behind why they believe a certain way. I needed to understand how they interpreted some Scripture different than I did. I learned a lot, but the biggest thing I learned was that I needed to wrestle with these things so I could know that I know that I know what I believe. You clearly have done your homework on these issues but most of the general Christian public have not. That’s why they’re so easily swayed to the more compromising side; no one ever taught them to discover for themselves what Scripture said. They only were told what to believe. I love how your heart is teaching Scripture. I feel that all of us who have others under our wing, whether that’s in our families, our church, or in the blogging world must be diligent to teach them how to search the Scriptures themselves and not be “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Eph. 4:14) Thank you again for your boldness. God bless you.

  60. Courtney I completely agree. God’s Word is the final authority. Some parts of His Word may be interpreted differently, but when God addresses sin, that is NOT up for interpretation. Thank you for taking this stance.

    A seasoned English teacher at a high school I worked at once had this quote on her wall, “What’s right isn’t always popular. What’s popular isn’t always right.”

    God did not promise doing/saying what is right would be popular! :)

    Your boldness is inspiring and a breath of fresh air in this dark world! God bless you.

  61. Hi Courtney! This was so refreshing to read. Excellent post!

  62. Becky Carothers says:

    I loved your post from today and have not ha a chance to read the earlier posts but believe me now I will. I myself totally follow your meaning and THANK YOU. I have lost friends lately because I refuse to be for a better term politically correct when it comes to the meat of the word of our Lord and Savior. I am judgmental and know that is up to the almighty but my heart aches each time someone makes everything we believe in hated or you just need to let people live their lives. Let them love who they want to love legalize gay marriage it is okay. “Can’t everyone just get along” no we cannot we need like you said to spread the whole bible not just the gospel if we are just to unite around the Gospel and nothing else the bible would be only made up of those 4 books.

    Keep posting on you are the best.

  63. This post has to be one of the most powerful posts I’ve ever read. Courtney, God is really using you to speak truth to your readers and you have been faithful to do so. I am lifting you up in prayer.

  64. A hundred thank you’s for posting this! My heart is so encouraged. I used FB mainly to proclaim God’s truth and I get a lot of flack for it. But God has really encouraged me these last few days to keep going.

  65. Courtney – thank you! As a pastors wife who is so concerned for the sheep I cannot thank you enough for speaking out! I have a blog that I write always with my church girls in mind. For the reasons you have stated I very rarely ‘link-up’ or recommend other blogs until I have done research … it’s not that these fellow bloggers are terrible people …. heavens NO, but often our theology doesn’t jive together – I say one thing – they say another … like you said … confusing! Oh that we would discern, discern, discern and PLEASE don’t think I’m saying I know it all or that I have it write … but I am JEALOUS to be a discerner of the Truth. You have a far reaching ministry on the internet and I am so incredibly thankful that you are taking it so very seriously and speaking out about things that others are afraid to speak of or are blind to the effects of! Keep fighting the good fight sister … It’s a fight worth getting war wounds for x Shelley

  66. I loved this post, Courtney. The doctrines of so many churches today have become very twisted and biblically unsound. But I guess if it will provoke those who love truth and search the Scriptures to jump off the fence of apathy, God can use even that. We’ve only lived here 3 years and have yet to find a church that preaches the truth. I long for spiritual fellowship with families who believe God’s word just as it’s written, without private interpretations. *sigh*

    There’s a family in our homeschool group that we’ve become friends with, who is into Preterism. Would you consider that something to correct in love and if necessary, divide over? I feel that it’s horrendously unscriptural and therefore false doctrine.
    Thanks. :)

    • Hi Lisa,
      I know you asked for Courtney’s opinion however I would like to offer mine if I may. I, like you, disagree with preterism. Division is something that is very serious and should be taken to God in prayer. If you truly feel like something should be said then pray, pray, pray and pray some more before anything is said. If you truly feel God is leading you to say something then maybe you can approach it in the form of a Bible study. See if searching the Scriptures in this area is something they would agree to in the spirit of love, humility and clarity. Ultimately if it’s something that isn’t being talked about or taught to your children or in the hearing of your children then I personally would say there is no need to divide. On the flip side of that, if your children do hear something about their beliefs in regards to preterism, it would be a great opportunity for you and your husband to sit with your children and talk about these things. Our children will be inundated with these things now and in the future so best to get a good grasp on these things with them while you can.
      Many Blessings
      Jamileh

      • Thanks so much Jamileh! That was just what I needed to hear. The Lord really used you to answer me.
        You helped me to shine the correct light on this. I realized that it’s not something this family talks about very often nor do they try to teach our children (teens). With that in mind, I feel that it is best left alone, at least for now. But I will study the Scriptures more so I’ll be better prepared to answer with the truth if/when the topic arises in the future.
        Thanks again, I appreciate your thoughtful response!!
        Lisa

        • Lisa,
          I am so glad that God was able to use me to speak to you in a way that was helpful and thoughtful.:)) God is good and faithful! My husband and I have been where you are. We’ve made a few mistakes (that we have definitely learned from!!) along the way however God has used those mistakes to humble us and show us the error of our ways when we haven’t prayed about a situation or when we’ve been immature in our response. We have had to go back, apologize, and ask for forgiveness because in times past we’ve spoken the truth to others but it wasn’t in love or humility. I am thankful God has used those situations to grow us up and keep us humble. We now make sure to pray everything through, be patient and to wait on God. Sometimes if we wait long enough the situation takes care of itself. God is so good like that. Be sure to pray that God would protect the ears and eyes of your children so they would only hear truth and be able to discern truth. Praying for you and your family Lisa!!
          Many Blessings to you! :))
          Jamileh

  67. I have been studying Revelation lately and find it interesting that the sin the church of Thyatira was charged with (Rev. 2:20) was tolerance. Specifically, they were allowing Jezebel to “teach” while continuing to practice immorality.

    This seems to be the way of our society – even for many Christians. We don’t want to offend and, so, we tolerate. And many of those we are tolerating are teaching false doctrines via blog and book and stage.

    I firmly believe in speaking in love. I have never been a confrontational person. I have been convicted, lately, however, that it is also an act of love to speak truth even when it is not well received.

    Love this post.

  68. Carissa D. Huffman says:

    This is bold. This is beautiful. This is exactly what I hear my pastor discuss in our church.

    Keep speaking the truth in love. I’ve got your back, too, sister.

    Carissa in eastern Iowa

  69. Hey Courtney,
    Love your site! Would be please explain in detail your opinion on head coverings? I have been grappling with this for a while. I don’t want to be legalistic or divisive, bit at the same time don’t want to disobey or water down an explicit command. Please respond! Thanks, Dawn

  70. May God bless and uphold you and yours, Courtney. I pray for you, knowing that when we make a stand for what is right, the Devil won’t be happy. God rules!

    Love,
    Ruth

  71. Really good, Courtney. I am so saddened by the “social gospel” that is so popular these days and seems intent on stripping Jesus of his deity in favor of making him the ultimate do-gooder.

    Yes, we are to care for the poor and needy. Yes, we are to practice pure religion (protecting the fatherless and the widow). But we are to do these things THROUGH the lens of truth, rather than grinding it into the ground with our heels because we find its words inconvenient and unpopular.

    Well said and well done following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

  72. Hi, Courtney,

    I have been waiting for your thoughts on my/our situation I described above. I keep checking back. Do you plan to respond?

    Thank you,

    Joy

  73. Love, love, love these new posts Courtney!! Please keep them up! :) God bless.

I love hearing what is on your heart.

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