This is what happens when the sun shines through a prism. Would you like to enjoy the beauty with me for a few minutes? Or would you like to argue about where green begins to become blue and where blue starts to become violet?
It all depends on one’s outlook, doesn’t it?
Look at the variety.
Look at the way God organized light by frequency bringing color into view.
The green ends there.
No, the green ends over a little bit.
Several years ago I was in the audience when Ken Ham spoke to the National Convention of Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) several times. Near the end of our time together he said (near quote): Would those of you I’ve spoken with about this moment please come join me on the stage? 25 or 30 people stood and came to the platform where he arranged them by skin color, a single line from the darkest of dark to the fairest of fair. It was remarkable; I’d never seen anything like it before. Then he turned to the rest of us seated on the main floor. Who of you would like to come draw lines between the races? (Silence) I would suggest to you that God created one — human — race. Men have drawn the lines.
We encounter the same phenomena when we discuss doctrine and theology. Systematic Theology is important, please hear me correctly, I have half a dozen trusted authors in the theology section of my library and I respect their work. But I must always remember that God wrote one book. Men have written the others. There was a lot of history before Zwingli. Even more before Jamieson, Fausset, Chafer, Stott, Grudem, Walvord, MacArthur, Piper and others we know today. The lines we draw between varying perspectives are lines of delineation drawn by men.
A few years ago I installed a projection system in a Coptic Orthodox church located in metro-Chicago. It was a physically challenging installation; I could not wear safety shoes in the installation area, instead they provided consecrated slippers worn by priests so my ladders didn’t hurt my feet. Symbols and tradition surrounded me and I always received cordial answers to my questions about this or that. Finally on the third day of the installation I mustered my courage and asked the deacon (like an associate pastor in my tradition) supervising the project, “So tell me about the doctrine of Salvation in the Coptic Orthodox church – what’s it like?” He smiled and complimented me on my tactfulness. Then said “My answer is always the same. Was / Is Jesus the Christ? Or not. Have you personally appropriated His completed work to yourself?” Though we had more not in common than in common we agreed that the bottom line is a God-drawn line and we were on the same side of that one. I enjoyed my time there (plus, it was a successful installation – that always helps).
Here’s the principle I’d like you to note:
Lines of distinction are useful, even beneficial.
They help us define how well we’ll be able to work together, if we choose to do that.
They help us relax in some areas and hold our tongues in others.
They’ve helped identify organizational distinctives for a long time.
Just remember who drew the line you’re looking at.