Doctrinally Sound, Lovingly Tolerant

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After last Sunday morning’s Sunday school lesson on the foundational purpose of the original 12 apostles, and how their lives and work were the basis of the New Testament canon. “Apostle” means “sent one.”  Even Jesus is called a “sent one” in Hebrews 3:1. Although the gift of apostleship exists today (we often call these people missionaries instead of apostles), the office of apostle does not. In spite of all the crazies running around, declaring their apostolic authority. Sorry. The foundation of the New Jerusalem already has 12 names on it, and their name isn’t one of them (Rev.21:14).

Tomorrow we are going to tackle the “second blessing” teaching. Do we need to have a subsequent experience (often accompanied by speaking in tongues) to receive the “fullness” of the Spirit? Or is God’s indescribable gift at the moment of saving faith so incredibly rich that really, what else could God possibly grant us? And the miraculous signs given to the Jews (Acts 2), Samaritans (Acts 8), Gentiles (Acts 10) and those who were still believing in John’s repentance (Acts 19) normative for all of us, or just God’s way of telling the early church that they were all one big happy family now, and to prove it, the Spirit manifested itself in the same way in each case?

Next week…what are tongues, anyway?

I teach these lessons with a desire that the church learn these truths, because we live in an environment in Mexico where winds of doctrine, often bizarre, strange teachings, are common. But I also want them to remember that there are many people who hold to these teachings that happen to believe in Jesus as their Savior, and that these people are their brothers and sisters. We need to remember to be gracious and tolerant.

But not always. After the lesson last week, during the question and testimony time, a lady relatively new to our congregation spoke. “I was in a church where the speaker invited us to get out of our seats and give reverence to the pastor’s son. To basically worship him. When I didn’t, the speaker said that I was full of demons, and disobedient.” In situations like this, and many others that I’ve heard about in the last three weeks, tolerance isn’t the answer. Righteous judgment based on sound biblical doctrine is. There is so much of this sort of thing in our “Christian” community today.

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