How to handle a difference of understanding as we grow in our knowledge of God’s Word
Carl and Edna Naldrett were 2 of the founders of the church I was saved in and attended for 14 years.
They helped to mentor me, and walked through some tough times with me. Some I created, and some that others brought into my life. They were married over 60 years!
At that point in Christendom, the big, and rather heated, debate was whether or not one could lose one’s salvation, once given. For those of you who don’t remember it, this discussion had people shouting and shaking fists at one another between churches, as well as over the pews. It was normal to hear people call one another heretics and Jezebels because of this debate.
As a wide-eyed newer Christian, I didn’t know what to think about either the question at hand or the way people treated one another because of it.
During a bible study, the subject came up. Carl and Edna gave each other a knowing look, and smiled cheekily back and forth. Rather than go into an immediate study of God’s Word on the subject, which Carl was gifted at doing, Carl told us that he and Edna each held opposite views on the subject!
You could have heard a pin drop.
Carl and Edna were both bastions of scriptural knowledge, and respected as parents by all in our church. As a bonus, Edna made one of the best apple pies on earth. Can’t think of one without the other. It was hard to understand how they could read the same bible and see different things, but, at the same time, some of us had seen verses that might make you lean one way or the other. Some things in scripture are pretty clear, but some things take work to understand. I think the farther we get from the resurrection, the more effort is required on some subjects, as well as adherence.
Carl just looked at us all slowly, and told us they agreed to disagree.
Hatred over this subject was never a part of our church. Carl and Edna had squashed it with their love.
Did they believe in absolute truth? Yes, absolutely. Did they ever set doctrinal lines and hold to them? Yes. Were they both saved? Yes. Did they agree on everything as deep studiers of God’s Word? No.
Did they tell us who took which side? No. They just smiled and moved on. I never did find out how each saw the question. They protected one another in love.
And I kind of think they enjoyed watching us squirm a bit.
There are a few really difficult subjects out there that Christians on all sides, and in between, are honestly grappling with. We can’t all be right. But we can walk out our convictions without “calling down lightning” on one another, however tempted we may be.
Let’s remember to be Carl and Edna-ites!
January 29, 2021