We’ve spent the last month allowing God’s Word to challenge us concerning unity in the body of Christ. I’ve spoken about the need to work for the unity Christ has achieved for us by way of a slow and deliberate walk. While I’ve said all that I want to say (for now), please be challenged just once more by the voice of Brett McCracken (Senior Editor for The Gospel Coalition).
The following is an excerpt from a larger article of his entitled “Church, Don’t Let the Coronavirus Divide You.” The entire article is well worth your time but this part caught my attention as something that we haven’t really talked about and yet is incredibly helpful.
We live in an un-nuanced age. The economic model of the media (built on clicks and views) works against nuance. Advertisers know nuance doesn’t sell. Politicians know it too. We shouldn’t be surprised by how rare it is for someone to hold humble, complicated, “both/and” views in today’s hyper-partisan, media-catechized world. But if churches are going to emerge from this crisis with unity and fellowship intact, we must embrace the countercultural path of nuance. It’s the path that avoids ALL CAPS hysteria of every extreme sort, recognizing that truth is rarely as simple and shrill as Twitter would have us think. It’s the path that prizes both courage and prudence, and avoids both pollyannaish and doomsday responses. It means we can be skeptical of some aspects of the lockdown without resorting to outrageous conspiracy theories, and we can honor governing authorities (Rom. 13) while engaging them in civil pushback when necessary. Countercultural nuance avoids thinking the worst of people and concedes that the other side of a debate is sometimes right, just as we are sometimes wrong. Nuance often results when humility and patience combine.
There are some things Christians should not be nuanced about, of course, and one of those is our rugged commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ and all that Scripture commands. What Paul urges the Ephesian church, therefore, should be equally urgent for us today:
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
My hope is that we can recognize, even amidst the passionate opinions we may hold, that everything in this cultural conversation isn’t black-and-white. May God give us the grace to discern and preserve the peace of His church.