Christian Disagreement in the Covid Era

Living a balanced faith means understanding, when my liberty hinders the work of the Spirit, my liberty must yield.  Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth…
“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.”  1 Cor 10:23-24
Nothing should hinder the work of God, which is nothing short of bringing the good news of Jesus to the world, reclaiming His creation, and washing away evil.  We must keep our focus on what’s important.  How silly to quibble about petty differences in non-essential matters.  The Church is divided about the “how” and “when” of reopening.  There is a growing divide and it’s understandable.  We’ve been told for 8 weeks across many platforms that we are in this together.  The entire country has been told repeatedly, “stay home, stay safe.”  Don’t let this conditioning disrupt your love for a brother who chooses differently.  The science isn’t settled, we don’t know all the facts yet.  And by and large everyone is trying their best.  This is when the church shows Jesus to the world by being dispensers of grace.  We don’t’ have to agree, it’s crazy to think we all could, that’s ok.   But we stay civil, particularly in public, on social media, in front of a watching world.  Friends, we can’t allow the Satan a foothold by dividing the Church now.  We must remain vigilant, we must protect the unity of Christ’s Church even when we vehemently disagree.
Personally, I’m in the middle of both camps, I’m ready to get things opened up, I’m ready to move forward, but I do want to be cautious, I do want to be smart.  So our mantra at the local church I pastor is, “we will proceed slowly”.  That’s why we have opened several small onsite options that take every precaution given to us by the health department.  In addition to our online campus.  We won’t move forward with more onsite options, until the need is there.  
We must remember that some Christians are stronger in their faith than others, but there is always someone stronger than us.  While we are compassionately limiting our freedom for the sake of someone else’s weakness, another Christian is doing the same thing for you!  Or do you think you are the most mature person in town?  I hope not.  That’s a sure sign of spiritual immaturity.  Everyone has room for growth.  Everyone is still learning to maintain balance.
            It takes a mature wisdom to know the difference between essential matters of morality and non-essential matters of conscience. It takes mature love to put one’s own preference behind the good of others.  It takes uncommon foresight to look beyond the immediate sacrifice of freedom for the sake of God’s great plan for the world.  It takes supernatural grace to give others the freedom to be different without suffering ridicule.  It takes love to let others be. 
So, friend, if you find yourself thinking less of another believer because they have a different opinion on something, you are the weak faith person in that relationship!
Paul, ever practical in his teaching, offers three simple reminders to help us maintain balanced faith.
Applying Grace to life.
  • Be considerate.  What you enjoy in the private, if it’s one of those issues the Bible doesn’t strictly speak to, great.  Remember all things are lawful, not all things are constructive.  Know the difference and thank God for all the wonderful things He created for you to enjoy.  When you are in public, don’t restrict yourself unnecessarily, but be aware of the potential effect your actions have on others.  Or your opinion!  Be sensitive to reactions and graciously adjust your behavior accordingly.
  • Be convinced  Truth be told, many Christians are not clear within themselves what they believe, so they live in perpetual frustration trying to please everyone around them.  But, as I’m sure you have figured out, everyone is different and their convictions are contradictory.   Please one and you’re likely to displease another. 
Instead, carefully examine your matters of conscience to be certain they are not indeed a clear moral issue.  Determine what the scripture has to say.  Discuss them with trusted, mature believers, consider the impact they have on others and yourself, both positively and negatively.  For me, after doing this, I’m willing to give up about anything or limit the volume of my opinions, so as not to limit my Christian influence.  Then once you’ve settled the issue, you can enjoy it with confidence.  You won’t react defensively, you won’t always be attempting to convince others, and you won’t second guess yourself.  Your quiet confidence will allow you to let others be.
  • Be consistent.  Consistently, match your actions to your conscience.  But don’t be surprised to find that your conscience gradually changes over time.  Some things that caused you no problem years ago, irritate your conscience today.  That’s normal, your conscience should always be growing as you grow in sanctification.
Bottom line, give grace.  Even when you have the right to an opinion or the freedom in Christ to partake in a certain activity, if it hurts the work of God, you must limit your freedom. 
This post has been excerpted from Pastor Chris’s most recent sermon.  To listen to watch in its entirety,
Pastor Chris Williams
Pastor Chris is the Senior Pastor of Fellowship Church.




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