I was in a lengthy and, at times, heated meeting of leaders of a Christian Church yesterday. And, we were working to understand the vision of the local church and how to take people from where they are to where God seems to want them to be. The issue of theology came up as it often does. The church works with a teaching team and so there are three, at times four, teachers preaching. And, there are some major differences in what several of these teachers believe.
As we worked our way through some issues that arose one of the leaders kept saying that he didn’t care what our theology was and that it was alright to disagree on our theology. This means it is alright to disagree on what the Scriptures teach about various topics because it is not important. And, no one challenged him on the comments. I was amazed and even a bit shocked. But, because of where we were working to get to and the limited time available I let that one slide, for now.
Theology is simply the “study of God” and is rooted in the Scriptures. And, I believe that it does matter what we believe. In the situation I mentioned above there are different understandings regarding what the Scriptures teach about healing, prosperity, the role of the supernatural gifts of the Spirit – especially prophecy, women in leadership positions, the fivefold ministry roles and specifically the role of the “pastor,” the role of special guest speakers, and on the list could go. But, “I don’t care what their theology is” kept being repeated.
If we don’t agree on the basic teachings of the faith that are presented from the same pulpit by various teachers on the team then we are simply not being credible leaders. We are not functioning as a team in unity and one accord. And, we are going to cause tremendous confusion and frustration in the hearts and lives of the people attending the church. It is incredulous to me that a leadership team does not challenge “I don’t care what their theology is.”
In the New Testament Church they worked hard to correct wrong teachings and incomplete teachings. Paul teaching the disciples of John the Baptist what the full gospel was. Aquila and Pricilla teaching Apollos the fullness of the Gospel, John writing the first of three letters to sort out some of the misunderstandings regarding salvation countering the teachings of Gnosticism – an early Christian heresy.
Today, because we have not paid attention to doctrine and teachings we have whole denominations that have moved into apostasy (once knowing the truth and no longer believing and teaching it) and heresy (teaching a false gospel). Paul warns the Church about this when speaking of another Jesus, another gospel, and another spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4). But, his warning is not being heeded.
I believe it is very important what we believe that that any and every leadership team must come into agreement with each other regarding the doctrines of the local church. To fail to do so leads to a slippery slope where soon anything goes and we find ourselves drifting quickly away from the true faith (Hebrews 2:1).
After many years working with this local group I am deeply concerned. I will “earnestly contend for the faith as the book of Jude states we should Jude 1:3b). But, if this drifting continues and the prevailing winds keep blowing it may be time to step aside and invest my time elsewhere.