As chief editor for ITG, I am faced with having to make decisions as to whether or not to include or exclude certain things from our publication. Some time ago, I was sent an e-mail which humorously presented the case of “How many individuals from such and such a theological persuasion does it take to change a light bulb.” The short writing went on to say that it took such-and-such a number of people to change a light bulb if they were from one theological persuasion (including why it took this number of people), whereas it took such-and-such a number of people to change a light bulb is they were from another theological persuasion.
At first, I read the writing over and laughed a little. Well, it wasn’t “too bad,” was it? It was just “poking fun” in a friendly way at different theological persuasions (often called “denominations”) within Christianity. However, as I inquired of the Lord about this, He then made it very clear to me that it was not His will that I should entertain or promote this writing at all, because, even if it did seem “friendly” and “innocent” and “just having fun”, it was prone to causing division within the body of Christ and did nothing at all to promote unity. Let me be a little more clear here. I am not saying that if we feel someone is wrong in his or her teaching that we should not expose that teaching as being “bad.” What I am saying is that we need to be careful that we don’t develop a “mocking” attitude towards others with whom we differ.
I am writing this, then, to let you know that we must be careful with what we read, and what we do with what we read. Perhaps you are one who has read this e-mail, which has circulated in times past. Perhaps you have even been guilty of entertaining it, and passing it on. Articles such as these may seem “innocent” and “pure.” In fact, when we read them, they may even seem to “do justice” to the individual denominations which are mentioned. The reason we “chuckle” at them, is because we believe them to be true. We have come to experience that what is written “is” true, in our own (very limited, I might add) way of seeing things. Thus, we become biased judges (of which I, for one, have been very guilty in the past).
We accept in our heart, then, that what is said, really is true. And we chuckle, and laugh, and think, “Hey, this is good humor. I think I will pass it on.” But we are really falling prey to the devil’s way of thinking when we do this. God does not want us to laugh about His body like that. How about you, would you laugh if you saw a part of someone’s physical body that was maimed, and deficient? So then, why do we have to pass on these e-mails which talk about parts of God’s body that may seem to us to be deficient in some way? God does not view us like that. He believes and knows that all of us, whether we are called Catholic or Protestant, Baptist or Pentecostal, are “created in God’s image” and are wholly “equal” in His eyes. While we may not all be perfectly “right” (I do not believe any of us is, which is one good reason why we need one another), yet, by an equal token, we are not deficient, but wholly capable, precisely because we are created by God, who himself is wholly capable. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Let us then be very careful about such things as these.