Will Divisive Arguing Kill the Church

When I wrote the post yesterday about making statements that kill a conversation, I didn’t realize I’d contemplate this thought from the author Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What):

And on a side note, I am wondering whether the church in Europe decreased in size and impact because of loose, liberal theology, or because the church got divided and people got tired of the fighting. You never hear about that loose European theology, but you do hear a lot about bitter fights (historically, to the death) over theological squabbles. I think people just left the dinner party saying to themselves that they’d just rather find community at the pub. If the church dies in America, it wont be because of liberal theology, it will be because people don’t sense Christians actually understand or respect Jesus’ prayer in John 17. It goes without saying, then, that if they will know us by our love, they will also know we are not of God by our inability to acknowledge an individuals sovereignty.

He was talking about how so many of his friends do not attend church because they get tired of theological jabbing. The “if you don’t believe just as I believe you’re going to Hell” attitude. The people that speak up and then wonder why the energy just gets sucked out of a room.

You can’t base sociology on just a few people, but combining my study of history with comments European friends of mine have made over the years, I’ve got to agree with his comment. I know that I’ve grown tired of theological debate. It’s not about theology–it’s all about Jesus.

Oh, his prayer in John 17? He is praying for his followers as he is preparing to leave Earth. Part of the prayer goes, “And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

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