Ideas Have Consequences

Confronting Disunity: The Road Less Traveled Towards Unity and Truth

September 05, 2023 Disciple Nations Alliance Season 1 Episode 88
Ideas Have Consequences
Confronting Disunity: The Road Less Traveled Towards Unity and Truth
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Over the past two decades, Disciple Nations Alliance has brought together groups from various nations, cultures, denominations, languages, and traditions and watched as God brings unity to diverse people through a biblical worldview. While the world needs to see a unified Church under the lordship of Christ, it often sees the church bickering and divided instead. Our cultural climate is full of ideological differences, reactivity, and societal fractures. Let's not be of the world. Let's discover together how we can take the road less traveled and focus on God's path of truth and love toward unity. Join us in this thought-provoking conversation, and let's navigate these divisive times together.

Dwight Vogt:

And we can confidently say that to abandon truth is to abandon goodness and is to abandon beauty. And we don't always realize that, but that's what we're doing, that's right.

Scott Allen:

That's right.

Dwight Vogt:

Ultimately we are. You start abandoning truth and somebody's going to get hurt.

Scott Allen:

And I want to say this we're talking about unity and disunity. Ultimately, unity has to be built. It just has to be built around truth. At the level of these fundamental questions, there just can't be unity apart from it.

Luke Allen:

Hi friends, welcome back to another episode of ideas have consequences, the podcast of the disciple nations alliance, a show where we examine how our mission as Christians is to not only spread the gospel around the world to all the nations, but our mission also includes to be the hands and feet of God, to transform the nations to increasingly reflect the truth, goodness and beauty of God's kingdom. Tragically, the church has largely neglected this second part of her mission and today most Christians have little influence on their surrounding cultures. Join us on this podcast as we rediscover what it means for each of us to disciple the nations and to create Christ honoring cultures that reflect the character of the living God.

Scott Allen:

And again to another episode of ideas have consequences. This is the podcast of the disciple nations alliance. I'm Scott Allen and I'm your host today, along with my team members Dwight vote, darrell Miller, luke Allen and Tim Williams. Guys, great to have you with us today. Good morning, great to be here.

Scott Allen:

We were talking about our topic this week. We're going to just be doing this as a team here, and the topic that we landed on was the times that we're living in, in the church especially, but in the culture at large here in the West, but not exclusively in the West. I think this is true in countries around the world, and what I'm talking about is this division or disunity that we're experiencing in kind of a heightened way in our culture and in the church. We're going to explore that. You know what? How have we experienced that ourselves? What's going on? Why is there such disunity? And then how do we respond to that as Christians faithfully? What do we do when we're in conflict and division with other Christians over different issues? How do we respond faithfully? I think this is such a really important topic, guys, and so I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this and hopefully sharing with our listeners some things that can really help them to handle this in a really faithful way.

Scott Allen:

I just, you know, before we get into it, I just want to, I just want to acknowledge that this is so real. You know, for people right now, this, this pain that has come from broken relationships, it's there's been a lot of division in churches. Churches have split, there's been divisions within families, there's an alienation between parents and children and friends, and you name it. There's just a lot of division right now, and I recognize and I want to be sensitive to the fact that people are really in pain, you know, because of that they've had, they've lost friendships and are alienated from people that they love and are close to. Guys, how let me just start with this question how have you personally experienced this division or this disunity that I think we're really into a heightened season of right now? Have you seen it in the culture, in the church, or even experienced it? Who wants to? Who wants to get us started on that?

Luke Allen:

What a happy question. A couple of big things that I've noticed. These are more kind of just meta themes, but I think COVID brought out a lot of difficult conversations inside the church, the lockdowns and what that looked like. So we're just getting out of that here. I think that was a big one that I noticed. That's just. That's just one. But I saw a lot of churches split over that, closed down, grow, you know just a lot of movement there. Right.

Darrow Miller:

There's also a lot of at least in the United States today, and I think if you look at European countries as well there's a lot of hostility on the political level between political parties and it's very divisive.

Luke Allen:

And politics, for sure.

Darrow Miller:

Politics. It splits families, it splits communities and that's very difficult to watch when it becomes personal and a family is split because of politics.

Scott Allen:

Yeah, dara, just adding to that, I think specifically, you know it goes back to me to 2015 and 2016 and that election in the United States. You know, donald Trump, hillary Clinton, there was just that really was divisive within the church because the church had a split response to President Trump, and so that continues. I mean, that's still a very hot and very divisive topic. So politics is very divisive and you know. I would just simply add you know that President Trump has been kind of right at the center of that. I think.

Luke Allen:

Yeah, I think 2016 election for sure, but I think also one of the first times that a lot of churches felt like they needed to address politics in recent years was the Obergefeld ruling in 2015. And I think that was one of the first times churches, like you know, felt cornered into. We need to address this from the pulpit instead of just kind of avoiding it and staying, staying hands off. So that too.

Scott Allen:

Right, that Obergefeld ruling was the ruling of the Supreme Court in the United States that essentially made same sex marriage quote unquote the law of the land, and so, yeah, that was definitely a threshold moment, if you will, a kind of a key moment. And so, yeah, you know, these are really I mean, we're living in momentous times, guys. We're really, really living, in some ways, revolutionary times. There's a moral revolution, there's a kind of a political revolution. These are really momentous times. I am constantly kind of aware of that fact. So, because these are such momentous times with such significant things happening in our culture, and then, of course, covid, like you said, luke, I mean no question, I mean no, no, no surprise, right, there's so much division, including in the church. Tim and Dwight, what about you guys? How have you seen or experienced this disunity in the culture of the church? Have you, you know, any thoughts or stories?

Dwight Vogt:

personal stories yeah, thanks, Scott. I think of a couple of families in our church that have left over just the issue of critical theory and a different understanding of what racism is and how racism should be understood and handled.

Dwight Vogt:

They've left because, there was disagreement and it was severe enough that they had to go. You know, I think of a friend of mine who has had some relationships that have been seriously strained over you could say political issues, but really it's over, you know, a woman's right to choose and it's over. What does it mean to affirm your child's gender status? And both of them have said have gone with the popular culture and they're Christians and what do you?

Tim Williams:

do Well it's tense yeah yeah.

Tim Williams:

Yeah, and for me what comes to mind is I had, you know, one in particular personal relationship where I would say there was a, you know, there were disagreements about what I would call disputable matters, and it was things that I thought, no, we could agree on. But in this particular relationship my friend didn't see it that way and over time the relationship did not continue. There's still love there. You know, I still pray for my friend, but, you know, seeing each other regularly and staying involved in each other's lives did not continue past that season.

Scott Allen:

So just a theological divide, really, tim, is what I'm hearing there.

Tim Williams:

Yeah, that's right.

Scott Allen:

Just over a point of theology. Yeah, that never happens in the church, does it? Yeah, yeah, well, we can talk, certainly about that. But I think for me, you know, I just want to underscore two things. You know COVID Luke you mentioned, and I think two things in particular there were very divisive. You know the stance of the church towards the pressure from state and federal officials to, you know, to no longer gather. You know, during that season of shutdown, you know so, in many states it was forbidden for churches to gather in person and churches split on that and that became very hot, you know, between churches and pastors because some decided to. That was a fundamental issue and that was an overstepping of the rightful role of the government as an authority, and so they didn't go along with that and paid the consequence for that and others felt like that was putting at risk the lives of people in the congregation, setting a bad example for the church. And then the same very similar way with vaccines. Right, you know that was highly divisive. You know there was people that were saying you know, if you refuse to get vaccinated, then you're violating the first commandment, you know, of loving your neighbor. And so it became kind of quickly very divisive, you know.

Scott Allen:

Fortunately, I think with COVID, we've kind of got a little bit of a respite from that right now, although I have a feeling that we're going to come circling back on that one again. But for me, dwight, you mentioned critical theory and just the whole social justice movement, this, and you mentioned both race and sex and gender, the transgender you know thing. There's, yeah, there's. That's a very good example of friends that you had in the church who this became very personal when one of their children maybe came, came home and said hey, I'm, you know, I'm homosexual or trans and they chose to affirm that and that put them at odds with other people in the church. This is very difficult, you know. For me, just a personal story had to do more with critical race theory, and this goes back to Darryl, you remember this very well. It goes back to 2000.

Scott Allen:

I think it was 15 and it was right after the rise of Black Lives Matter, you know, and that group first started kind of coming on the scene and we were looking at that, going who are these people? What's going on? And we were critical of this new movement, even though we didn't know a lot about it, but we were critical for a couple of reasons. One was they weren't speaking out against abortion, which is by far the biggest, you know, destroyer of Black lives in the culture. Nor were they speaking out about violence that's pervasive and the victims of violence in our inner cities are largely Black and they weren't speaking out against that. They were very narrowly focused on highly divisive kind of racial issues relating to whites and Blacks. So we spoke out against that in one of our blogs, darryl, you specifically wrote, and we had some very close friends, some very dear friends that are leaders in the church in Phoenix, that were they took real offense to that and called us out on that and sat us down.

Scott Allen:

Even we, you know, we had long discussions with them about about this issue of race and I remember in those discussions that I was confronted, you know, with you know, to acknowledge that America was a profoundly, systemically racist country. We were racist to our core. Everything about the institutions and the structures of the society was racist and that I was beyond that, I was complicit in that because of my skin color, and that I needed to own up to that complicity. I needed to repent over that, or the word was often, you know, lament, you know my unconscious racism and my privilege.

Scott Allen:

So it became very like personal and I remember feeling just so puzzled and so sad about that because I thought these are not biblical ideas. I don't know where these ideas come from, but but they seem very new to me and it's really, in some ways, what prompted me to write the book on social justice is just my own exploration of where. You know, where did these ideas come from that now are so pervasive in the culture that they come right into the church and I've got respected Christian friends really challenging me on these ideas. So anyways, those. That was painful and personal and a relationships suffered as a result of that because, you know, just, people responded in different ways.

Luke Allen:

Yeah, I was just thinking about a couple of these examples we've given. I just played devil's advocate. I used to be more in this, this, more of this line of thinking, but with a lot of these I think you have inside the church two camps that are made, where one camp says okay, let's look at an issue like race relations in the US, or even COVID with mandates, and you can choose a side of let's. Let's seek the most loving solution here, the most tolerant solution.

Luke Allen:

Some people say the most you know, don't want to hurt our witness, compassionate, yeah, whereas other people see these as more in the core truth. Category of this is this is not a biblical stance and we're going to take a more firm stance on this. And you know, our friend Owen Strann defines this as the winsomeness project and this desire of a lot of Christians to be winsome.

Luke Allen:

That's a good desire, but it's when it is confronted by things that are more clearly non biblical to where it sometimes causes a lot of friction. Did I explain that? Well, I just see this. This the winsome versus maybe more truth driven debate.

Dwight Vogt:

Yeah, I think when, as I'm listening, I'm just reflecting on disunity.

Dwight Vogt:

Our topic, it is disunity in the church, and if you go back you know 100, 200 years, 300 years, whatever, and, darryl, you brought this up at one point in an earlier conversation just about disunity over theological differences, over over baptism, over church government, over things of that nature, and and yet I think you know, in our own life's lifetime we've seen it come together of denominations of Protestant and Catholic, to an understanding of no, there are some, there are some basic foundational spiritual principles in the Bible that we can agree with, and so I don't.

Dwight Vogt:

We don't have that conversation ongoing as much anymore hardly at all in my life but now we have just unity at another level and it's, it's, it's, you know, we look at it as and I think this article that you pointed to recently that it's a biblical worldview, it's a worldview level, disunity, and and that just feels much more severe, much more fundamental. Maybe I'm wrong, because I wasn't around 200 years ago when people were killing each other over baptism, but but now I mean, when you strike the core of who in, who is man? What is? What does it mean to be a human being? What does it mean to to, and do we have dominion over our earth or we do we live in unity and harmony with the earth? What's? Those are fundamental, core questions, and that's where we're starting to struggle, I think and that makes the unity that much more difficult because they are foundational issues.

Dwight Vogt:

Do you agree?

Darrow Miller:

Do I agree?

Dwight Vogt:

Yes, definitely, yeah, yeah, let me throw something in here at this point.

Darrow Miller:

We're talking about unity and we need to make a distinction between unity and uniformity, and uniformity and uniformity means we all need to be the same, we need to think the same, act the same, and if there's somebody that is my neighbor or a member of the church that doesn't act like me, then that's a place for division. I think the Bible speaks of unity as a an important virtue. There's no question about that, but it's not a unity of uniformity, it's a unity of diversity, and I think that's probably a place for our discussion. That helps us to engage with a larger group of people than if the unity is uniformity I think of during our lifetime. You can look at what happened in Mao's China or not for you, tim and Lou, but for Dwight and Scott and I we can look at Mao's China, and Mao wanted unity, but that meant uniformity. Everybody had to dress the same, have the same haircuts, read out of the same little red book, and anybody that was different outside of that uniformity was similarly killed, executed, and Mao was not afraid to kill. What was it? 40 million people in China in order to have uniformity.

Darrow Miller:

That we don't, that's not, should not be in our vocabulary as Christians. God himself is Trinity one God, three persons. There's unity and diversity, and God made us as human beings and the thing that unites us is a majo day. We all who are born into the human family are a majo day, but we're different sizes, different ages, different colors, but there is a level of unity in our humanity and we can celebrate different people and different relationships within the framework of that unity. And the kingdom of God is a unity of diverse peoples, of different tribes and nations, and there's one king and one kingdom, the kingdom of God. That is a huge umbrella for bringing people together, not to make them all the same, but to bring them together in all their diversity under one framework. So I think it's important. When we talk about division, what is the unity that we're looking for, and is it uniformity or is it unity of diversity, and I throw that into the mix of our discussion?

Dwight Vogt:

and I find that a little confusing, darrell, you can't have unity over diversity across the board. I mean, at some point unity means you're unified with somebody on something. And my point would be what are the beauty of the country I've grown up with? There's some deep unity historically on what does it mean to be a human being? What is our purpose here on this planet? What's ultimate reality? And there was a unity at that level which then allowed because it was so strong diversity at all these other levels. And I think the challenge of Mao and Stalin and others was they didn't have unity at that deep level because they were going against the very nature of humanity when they were striking. So they had to create unity in the fruit of the tree. You all had to look like apples because they knew the roots weren't unified. But if the roots are unified, the tree can have a variety of fruit when you say roots and fruit, do I explain?

Scott Allen:

you're talking at roots. You're talking about those deep fundamental beliefs.

Dwight Vogt:

I'm thinking about ideas of consequences tree of the DNA, those fundamental ideas that define who we are as human beings and our relationship to ultimate reality and to one another and to creation itself. And when you fracture at that level, at the root level, you have to create unity of uniformity.

Darrow Miller:

You have to create uniformity but this is where I think in the United States, as you're using this as an example there was a unity on the worldview level when this nation was founded. It was basically founded by monotheists and monotheists, and most of those were Trinitarian monotheists and they had a certain reference point the scripture and the virtues that were outlined in the scripture. And when you keep the unity at this larger level, the worldview level, you can encompass more people. And we are, in the United States today, massively divided on the worldview level, from the Judeo-Christian worldview on one hand to an atheistic worldview on the other, and that works its way out all the way down from the worldview level to principles that you operate your life by, to people who you vote for, to government policies. All of those things are ultimately rooted in a divide at the worldview level.

Darrow Miller:

I remember one of the first vision conferences we did was in Burma, a closed country. It was Buddhist in background, the Christian population, I think, was less than 2% of the Burmese people, and Bob and I went to Bob Moffin and I went to Burma for our second vision conference and there were, I think, about 90 people there and the day the conference started you could see these people walk into the room and look at each other and say, what am I doing here?

Dwight Vogt:

have.

Darrow Miller:

I come to the right place and you know, there were the Anglicans and there were the Lutherans and the Charismatics and the Pentecostals the larger body of Christ there but they had animosity one towards another.

Darrow Miller:

The Methodists didn't get along with the Charismatics and these were deep divisions, almost hatred, where you could live in a same community and not speak to another Christian who came from a different denomination. And they were divided around theological themes. And Bob and I were not talking on the theological level, we were talking on the worldview level that we are made in the image of God. And when you talk about that you could see all the pastors in the room shaking their heads, yes, yes. And then you talk about we live in a moral universe and the pastors would all be shaking their heads. And you do that a few times and they start seeing each other shaking their heads and before you know it, they are talking together, they are worshiping together, they are reading the scriptures together because there is, on a worldview level, a series of principles that bring the larger body of Christ together and it's beautiful what I hear you saying, daros.

Scott Allen:

You are talking about what CS Lewis called mere Christianity. It's these fundamental things that we share in common. Some people say we have a major on the majors, minor on the minors. That's what I hear you talking about just within the church. That's an important stance that we need to take.

Scott Allen:

We tend to, as Christians especially in the United States, I think this is true we tend to like to think in a kind of a divisive way, theologically, and we want to put people into theological camps. Are you a Calvinist or you an Arminian? Are you a? You know, just on all sorts of different issues, especially as a pathology do you believe in the kingdom? It's relevant for now or the future. Anyways, you've got.

Scott Allen:

In fact, I was just teaching in Paraguay and after I did my teaching, you know the person that I was teaching with. He immediately wanted to kind of put me into a box. You know he said hey, you know, given what you're saying, you must fit into this box, and I think that's the way we tend to, that. That's very common, but it's also very divisive, right, you know, because you're in that box, I'm not in this box and we can't really talk to each other, having to do with each other.

Scott Allen:

But there's another way of thinking as Christians, and that is to say, yeah, those things are important, but there's a lot more fundamental things that we have in common. You know these basic truths of Christianity there is a God. We're fallen, we're made in his image. You know he all lives matter. You know some of these basic things that we can all agree on and our stance should be let's, maybe, before we get into the things that are questionable or you know we're going to create some questions or challenges on theology let's affirm you know the things that we. You know the unity that we have on these more basic things.

Darrow Miller:

I think that we should live on the basis of the unity, not live on the basis of the division yes so we can give each other room for a different eschatological position or a different form of baptism, because there is the higher unity that we all subscribe to, and that's the place we fellowship yeah, yeah, I agree with that and we've seen, you know, the fruit of that in our vision conferences around the world.

Scott Allen:

Like you're saying, there, it's always exciting when you get people together from a variety of theological or denominational backgrounds, you know, because we're talking about those base, the basic mission of the church, and all of a sudden some unity begins to break out. That wasn't there before and you know, we always praise God when we see that. But I do want to come back to what Dwight was saying, because he's saying something quite different. I think too about just. We're talking about divides within the church around theology, but there's a divide in the culture that's much more fundamental and it's over really basic things.

Scott Allen:

Is there a God or is there no God? You know, are we made in his image or are we basically just products of a purposeless process of evolution? Do you change society through, you know, a heart and mind transformation through the gospel, or is it something that we have to bring about in the political sphere by changing structures of society through revolutionary movements? You know, I mean these are really fundamental divides that we have in our culture right now and these divides are coming into the church as well. Right, these fundamental divides? I mean, they're not. So. This isn't just Christians disagreeing with each other about baptism or about the kingdom of God. They're disagreeing with each other on just the nature of salvation, even these days, you know. So what do we do with that?

Dwight Vogt:

I think that's the challenge, that's the new challenge that we're facing right now my response immediately would be to go back to Darrell's illustration of what he experienced in Burma, because I saw the same in Uganda. I'll never forget these pastors talking to me and they say we have never met together. In fact we've never been in this particular church building in our lives until this training was given on Biblical worldview and development of our community. And we came together and we agreed on Biblical worldview and now we're working together for the development of our community and we're unified in a way we've never been. They were so happy, they were so excited about that exactly.

Dwight Vogt:

Pentecostals and Anglicans and across the spectrum, eschatologically and everything so. But I think that we can still go back to that and say you know, that is a very, very unifying force to you know, we may be splitting now, we're at risk of splitting over worldview issues in the church, but on the other hand, it's still a very strong way to come together and and just, I think that's beautiful.

Scott Allen:

Yeah, I agree, but still like the divide. I go back to the divide because I think this is such a key part of our division in the church and in the society right now is, let's say, critical theory, and I go back to my discussion with my friends. There are discussion it was over fundamental issues of what is, for example, justice, what does that word even mean? And we had very different definitions of that word, you know, and when you are divided at that level, it's really challenging, isn't it? I mean, we're talking about a more fundamental division. That's the new challenge. I'm just saying I think we are in a new day of challenge on this issue of disunity because of these very, I would say very unbiblical, very hostile ideas that now are pervasive in the culture, in the institutions, education, business, et cetera, arts, and now also in the church.

Darrow Miller:

Luke, you've been trying to say something, I think.

Luke Allen:

I'm really enjoying this discussion. And yeah, just to one more point, when we were talking about church unity and what you guys have seen over the years at the conferences, just the unity that I see in those is absolutely beautiful and I've never seen it anywhere else to that extent because you have people from every continent in the world. Many countries are represented, tons of traditions, tons of backgrounds, and yet there's absolute unity and in the mornings we usually start off our mornings with a worship time.

Luke Allen:

And one morning you have Kenya. You know, a group from Kenya go up and lead worship and everyone's dancing and we're having a great time. And the next morning it's a different country and we're sitting still and we have the guitar playing and we're singing, you know, and it's such a unifying vision and I love it and I don't feel like I see that anywhere else.

Luke Allen:

So that's just a beautiful thing there. And I think to what you're saying, dad, with now the real competing, really inethetical world views that are confronting the church in America and around the world I mean this message is not just for the US at all. I think this is one of the solutions is, as a church, what can be that core unifying vision that we can come around to confront these Cause if we can't unify as a church, it's gonna be really hard to confront something like post-modernism that says truth doesn't even exist. I see this in small ways, for example, in the pro-life movement. There's a unifying vision there. Life is sacred and you see people from across the spectrum unifying over that. You see Catholics, you see Protestants, pentecostals they're all out there.

Luke Allen:

I think that's a good example of what we should be doing at a larger scale instead of all this infighting inside the church. What can be those core unifying? What can that vision be? You know, without a vision that people perish, and I think that's what we see a lot today and so far we've already brought up a few of those. But do you think those are dead, deep enough to unify over? You're saying in the church. There's some things that you think we can't even find a unifying vision inside the church. Is that what I heard you saying a second ago? With the topics like justice.

Scott Allen:

Yeah. So I think it's really challenging. And again, you know my own experience with this is that it's so ironic, right, this justice, the new social justice movement, and you know they talk a lot about, you know the DEI, the DEI Training, diversity, equity and Inclusion. But so they like this word diversity. But just as Daryl said, they, you know it's a false idea, because unless you tow the ideology to a T, you're out, right. I mean, there is no kind of room for diversity.

Scott Allen:

And so what that meant for me personally, when I was confronted with this, is, unless I agree that, let's just say a couple of their key presuppositions. Number one America's fundamentally racist, like to the core. We always have been, we likely always will be. You have to agree to that. Number two if you're white, you have to agree that you are part of the problem, that you're complicit in that and that you've benefited from that. And if you don't like so I struggled with that I said no, I can't agree with those things categorically at all.

Scott Allen:

It's much more nuanced, and the response that I got back was you're a racist, right You're. You've crossed the line, you're now kind of on the side of evil, you're bigoted, whatever it is. So that's the challenge I'm talking about. Okay, I want to have, I want to engage in discussion with these folks, I want to stay together, keep the discussion going. I was written off, you know, because of, you know, the yeah, I just wouldn't, I wouldn't, I wouldn't go along, you know. So that's the challenge and I think you can see that in a number of ways. But I do think this especially race within the church has just been a huge driver of disunity, this critical race theory. So that's kind of what.

Scott Allen:

I'm talking about.

Dwight Vogt:

But what's interesting about that that was? It really is an issue of identity. It's a mago. I mean I can't go back to that conversation you had, scott and Darrell. But I'm wondering what if you sort of then say, well, what does it mean to be a mago day? Is it as being a mago day means I am defined by my white class, my white male position in society? Is that the core of who I am? And if it is okay, then I'm guilty of being that because I have no other recourse, because that's who I am. But a mago day says no, no, no, you're a part of that group, but that's not who you are Exactly, do I?

Dwight Vogt:

I mean, If you start, but you gotta dig deep and deep and deep until you finally go. Do we agree?

Scott Allen:

at least no, I did probe that very issue, In other words, what fundamentally defines us as human beings, right and of course.

Scott Allen:

I would say things like we're created by God, number one, number two we're loved by God. We're created in his image. It wasn't that they would say, no, we disagree with that. But I could see that there were other things that were taking the preeminent position over that, and that was what defines you more fundamentally than those things is things like your skin color. The group that you belong to, like that, trumped those other things. So it wasn't that they denied it, but that they kind of lowered that to a second tier.

Scott Allen:

And what was the most important thing was skin color, and that's where we had a fundamental disagreement and I'm like no, I can't agree with you fundamentally that things like skin color or groups that I belong to based on ethnicity or something like that, are more important in defining who I am than these other things like being created by God in his image, these things that create a unity right, and what I realized is that the ideology itself is divisive. It's like designed to be divisive.

Dwight Vogt:

I mean, it's just, and that's the fruit of it is just division, and that's just what you're gonna get, and my argument to that would be that that's because, fundamentally, it is attacking the Christian worldview at that DD level.

Scott Allen:

Yes, it's a fundamental difference. We're not talking about baptism or these issues of theology in the church. We're talking about fundamental worldview divisions. Now, at that worldview level of what does it mean to be a human being exactly?

Dwight Vogt:

And it's even more difficult when they say no, that's not what we're arguing. It's like oh yes, we are, but we're not Right exactly. Let's just create confusion.

Scott Allen:

Yeah, yeah, I wanna get into it, but related to that, and I don't wanna cut anyone off if you wanna add more to what we just said there about the kind of the fundamental divisions that we're facing today, but yeah, I really have a question and it's like I think I've heard us well describe there is disunity.

Tim Williams:

The disunity seems to have grown the disunity seems to be more visible, more marked, more difficult to overcome, and so you know question mark yeah, so what do we do?

Scott Allen:

Yeah, yeah.

Tim Williams:

Yeah, what do we? Oh bummer, you know like it's not overcomeable. You know like, where are we? Is there hope for the church? Like, what is? What's the conclusion?

Scott Allen:

Yeah, let's definitely talk about that, because I do think responding rightly to even fundamental worldview differences is important. How do we respond to people when we have fundamental worldview differences, Tim?

Luke Allen:

Hi friends, thanks again for joining us today.

Luke Allen:

If you are curious about the teachings that the guys used during the vision conferences that we were just sharing about, you can actually go and access all of it right now on our online courses, the Kingdomizer Training Program.

Luke Allen:

After the early interest in these training conferences and the unified global movement that we've seen God start through them, we decided to record the most impactful teachings from these and compile them into a free, easy to access biblical worldview online training course. If you'd like to learn more about the Kingdomizer Training Program, just head over to quirmdaocom or follow the link in the episode landing page and from there you can decide if this course is right for you or if it's something that you'd like to lead a small group through. As of today, there are people from 162 different countries going through this course and learning how to have a vision that is larger than themselves, their local church or denomination, but a vision of how to see every part of life through a biblical worldview. Join us as we learn how to bring biblical transformation into every corner of society by signing up today at quirmdaocom.

Scott Allen:

Yeah, I wanna get there, but I do. Before we do that, I do wanna explore this a little bit further because I wanna ask the question why are we in this position in the church, where the divisions now go beyond just basic theology that we've had for a long time and into more fundamental worldview issues? And I wanna do that by looking at a divide that happened in the church in the West a hundred years ago or more, and it was also over fundamental issues. It was over the authority of the scriptures Does God's word have authority or is it authoritative on issues of truth or mirror suggestions and it's not really genuinely the word of God? I mean, those are fundamental questions.

Scott Allen:

Or even over the mission of the church there was a divide on is our mission to see people come to know faith, come to faith in Jesus Christ, to disciple them and through that to begin to change nations through an inside out process of transformation? Or is it to start with the structures of society, to kind of change government policy and whatnot? That became known as the social gospel, and then through those enlightened government policies we're gonna see the kingdom of God come on earth? Those are fundamental divides and that broiled the church a hundred years ago. It's split between what we would call the mainline churches today and in earlier days, the fundamentalist church and today's evangelical church, and that divides still.

Scott Allen:

There's evidence of it. Of course, we live within the ramifications of that divide even today. My question then is what can we learn from that? In our current circumstance, are we kind of doomed to repeat that again, cause we're facing another time of fundamental division in the church? What are your thoughts on that? What can we learn? How do we apply the lessons of that to our current situation?

Dwight Vogt:

I think that for me, the essence comes down to again what does it mean to be a human being and as who? Dwight is the result of his environment, and is Dwight something that God created with a mind and a moral basis and a foundation of individuality, a moral creature? Is that who Dwight is? And one side of the coin now says no, everybody and everyone is a product of their environment. So if you're white, you're a product of that environment. If you're black, you're a product of that environment. If you're female, you're a product of that environment. And it comes out of neo-Darwinianism. I think that's the great divide. I think that one side says every human being is a product of the context they grow up in and the genetics they were born with.

Dwight Vogt:

And the other side is no, we're that, but we're more than that Fundamentally yeah, and when you divide those two and say, no, that's all we are, somehow to me that feels like the dividing point. Yeah, yeah. And I don't know how to explain it, but that's how I think is the dividing point.

Darrow Miller:

I would agree with you, dwight. I would say that division 100 years ago that created this particular split was how did the church respond to Darwinism? It's that simple and a lot of the church embraced Darwinism as an ideology and had that begin to change. What does it mean to be a Christian? What is the Bible? What is the church? What is the mission of the church? Because Darwinism radically understands the basic worldview issues in a radically different way and when you accept the assumptions of Darwinism, either consciously or unconsciously, you accept those. It will answer the questions what does it mean to be human? What is the church? What's the Bible? And very different ways than if you begin with a biblical worldview, and I think the split goes back to that worldview level. Yeah, that's right.

Darrow Miller:

And the question and it was a Jew who, dennis Prager, who wrote a very profound article that I thought, oh, this is very insightful. It wasn't anything absolutely new to me, but just the way he framed it he said that there are certain Jews that have more in common with Christians than they do with their fellow Jews and he said what's the difference? And he said do you come under the authority of scripture or are you an authority over scripture and in the atheistic framework, man is the authority and man is the authority over scripture. So you can be a Protestant, a Catholic, a Jew and you can say, well, I have final authority Over scripture. Or you can say, no, scripture has final authority over me and I might not always understand or like everything that scripture says, but it is my authority. And I think that division, as it were, goes back to the worldview level of is there?

Darrow Miller:

a God in the universe Division is there a God in the universe who can speak and has spoken? It's all a mystery to me.

Scott Allen:

How did you get there? Siri answered your question. That's a weird answer.

Dwight Vogt:

Siri answered my question.

Luke Allen:

Siri, that's the wrong answer, yeah that's so funny.

Darrow Miller:

Or, on the other side, you consciously or unconsciously accept the Darwinian framework of an atheistic, materialistic, naturalistic universe in which there is no transcendent reality. The Bible simply becomes the product of religious men and you are the final authority.

Dwight Vogt:

So, yeah, I think that's the dividing line. Who's God? Who's God? Is it the God of the Bible, or is it me? Or my God? Is it me?

Scott Allen:

Yeah, and God's word. What role does that play in terms of authority? What does it mean to be human? So that's, dwight, that was your point.

Scott Allen:

I think that I'd like to make a point here and we bring this up in our teaching very often that, going back to the division 100 years ago which, you're right, darrell, a lot of it was these powerful new ideas that were coming into the West through philosophers and thought leaders like Darwin, that really were ushering in this entirely secular worldview, a worldview that discounted God, saw everything in material terms. When these powerful ideas come into the culture, the church faces a temptation, I think, to do one of two things in kind of a wrong way. Number one to kind of adapt itself to these powerful ideas, to kind of say, hey, in order to be seen as acceptable by these new powerful elites in society that have accepted these ideas and are now leading our institutions, we have to go along with it and we have to adapt our worldview, even we have to adapt our biblical worldview, to kind of somehow shoehorn it into a secular ideology, which is impossible to do. But they try and then they abandon some core teachings of the Bible, some fundamental teachings about human nature and the authority of the Bible. So that's one temptation that I think is wrong. And then the other temptation is to say, wow, all this engagement in culture and politics and all of this is just something that we should. Just let's avoid it. It's very divisive and it's really a waste of our time. It's a distraction.

Scott Allen:

We need to just focus on these spiritual things like church attendance, church growth, witnessing to our neighbors, personal spiritual growth, and any talk of politics or any talk of changing society in any way is just a complete distraction. And I think we're seeing that play out again right now. And you've got yet another ideology I mean, they're closely related, but this one's more rooted in postmodernism and Marxism coming into the society, taking over. And then you've got a group in the church that are saying, hey, we need to kind of adapt our theology to this Critical race theory you name it, this kind of sexual morality, this upside down sexual morality. And then you've got another group once again saying, no, hey, just get out of the world. It's a mess, it's a waste of time. Just focus on getting people into the church and into heaven, and anything beyond that is just something the church shouldn't be engaged in. So I think to me those are two problems temptations, if you will, of the church it's faced, then it's facing today To me.

Scott Allen:

Jesus spoke against both of these. He said in His high priestly prayer we need to be in the world, but not of the world. We need to be engaged in this world as Saul to Heslach. Let's not abandon our mission to engage in this world for good, for truth, for beauty, but we have to stand for the truth. We have to hold on to these fundamental biblical world you beliefs, and that's going to put us at odds with powers that be in the world. So, in the world, but not of the world. I think we have to get back to that and that has to be a part of our unity, if you will. Any thoughts on any of that, guys?

Dwight Vogt:

Yeah, I don't think the great command is to love God and the second is to love your neighbors yourself. And I don't think any place we can justify love is blurring the lines, and saying let's call bad good. Let's call good bad. Let's call bad good. Let's call good bad. Let's kind of blur, let's just do it because we want to be loving. So I think, as Christians, we we have to be able to say no. There is this thing called love, and love stands with goodness and beauty and truth and truth and as Darrow has said those three are.

Dwight Vogt:

Those three are opposite sides of the same three sided coin. You know.

Scott Allen:

No, that's right, they're.

Dwight Vogt:

they're a Trinitarian.

Scott Allen:

Yeah In that respect. So yeah, the temptation today is to separate them and to say to be loving in this cultural environment. We have to go along with these ideas. In other words, we have to abandon truth. Um, it's, you know, because you know we need this. This is back to your point, luke. We need to be seen as winsome, you know, we need to be seen as acceptable by powerful people in the culture, right and um, so that that that's definitely, I think, the bigger of the two temptations. Right now, I see a lot of people falling into that temptation.

Dwight Vogt:

frankly, you know, and kind of downplaying truth. You know so and we can confidently say that to abandon truth is to abandon goodness and it's to abandon beauty. And we don't always realize that, but that's what we're doing, that's right.

Scott Allen:

That's right.

Dwight Vogt:

Ultimately, we are you. You, you start abandoning truth and somebody's going to get hurt.

Scott Allen:

And I want to say this we're talking about unity and disunity. Ultimately, unity has to be built. It just has to be built around truth. At the level of these fundamental questions, there just can't be unity apart from it. You know what I'm saying you?

Luke Allen:

know that reminds me of Hebrews 12, 14,. Make every effort to live at peace with all men and be holy. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord and it's that we need to unify around holiness, around truth, or else we cannot. Uh, that's, that's how we make peace with all men, right? Sorry, then cut you off.

Scott Allen:

No, that's right, I think that's right, I think, uh, you know my mind. Any kind of work to to reunify the church in these divisive times, it cannot be an abandonment of truth, right, it has to be an affirmation of truth at these basic fundamental worldview level things. Um, and then of course people are going to say but that's impossible, we're divided on these issues.

Scott Allen:

So so what do we do? How do we respond? And, uh, you know, in the in the last 10 minutes of our talk, guys, I want to, I want to go there and just acknowledge that we are divided at at a fundamental level, on fundamental truths. And so, what? What is the Bible? As Tim gets to your, your earlier, um kind of question of what do we do? Do we just write each other off? Do we just say, hey, we're, we're divided, that's it? You know? Uh, how do we respond? What does that look like? What are? I'd love to get your guys' thoughts on that. When we're, when you're, divided on fundamental issues with a friend, family member, um other people I mean worldview level division here you know, uh, what do you do? How do you respond?

Luke Allen:

Yeah, I'll, I'll just give a simple one first. I want to hear from you guys, um, but one thing I think is important uh my brother explained this to me a few years ago but is to make sure where you're, where your point of disagreement falls. Um, before we talked about a major disagreements versus minor disagreements, I like adding a third category in there of um figuring out if your disagreement uh falls within a realm of core truth, whether it falls within a realm of conviction or within preference, um, and it's good to kind of define those three camps first or else you can have a categorical error and be, you know, having a disagreement and you think it's a core truth, disagreement when it's really a preference or it's really a conviction.

Luke Allen:

Um, if it's a conviction, you're going to want to treat it one way. Romans does a lot in explaining how we should um respond to one another's convictions. Romans 14 specifically Preference if it's a preference thing like worship music, for example.

Scott Allen:

it'd be a preference type like worship music, yeah.

Luke Allen:

Yeah, Exactly. You should be able to figure that out and not get his not split over those things.

Scott Allen:

I would hope yeah.

Luke Allen:

Whereas if it is core truth, that's something that we need to, we need to deal with in a different, in a different way. Um and I think that's what that's more of. What the question is here is, when it is a core truth divide, how do we, how do we um approach that type of disagreement?

Scott Allen:

But I think your point is really good, luke. I just want to underscore it here. You know, not every divide or difference is a core truth or a fundamental worldview truth type of division. So to clarify you know what, just to think, what is dividing us? Is it more at that level of personal conviction or of, uh, where there's some freedom? Right, there's, as you said, in Romans 14, paul says, you know, there's some freedom to develop convictions one way or the other and we should respect each other's convictions, um, rather than try to force everyone to my particular conviction. And then there's just preference. So I think that's really a good word there. You know, uh, we, we, we should try to unify on those first, on the level of conviction, and you know, and uh, preference. But but what do we do when it's a fundamental kind of divide?

Darrow Miller:

Yeah, you allow for charity?

Scott Allen:

Explain Darrell.

Darrow Miller:

You still love the other person, you treat them as human beings, you listen to them. It doesn't mean you agree with them, that you listen to them and have a civil dialogue with them, that you don't write them off and, uh, you don't try to destroy them.

Scott Allen:

What I'm hearing you say is you don't you still see them right? You don't see them as an enemy or or as somebody who's beyond the pale, but you still see them as a human being, and even, I would say, as a brother or sister in Christ. Is that what I hear you say, darrell? Well, if they're Christians, if they if they're a Christian we're talking about within the church here, yeah, uh-huh. And if not.

Darrow Miller:

You see them as a brother or sister in Adam and Eve.

Scott Allen:

That, that means something. As a human being right as a fellow human being yeah.

Darrow Miller:

I'll never forget when I was in Cambodia. One time I took my daughter to Cambodia on a trip and we were visiting the museum in the killing fields where they were showing all the horrible things that the Kimmer Rouge did, and there was a picture of Pole Pot and then there was a picture of the man who was his henchman, who would take, and basically he was the guy that was responsible for killing a million Cambodians. And I was looking at these, these two evil men's pictures, and it was at eye level and it was, you know, it was a head-sized picture, at eye level. So it's very much of a oh wow.

Darrow Miller:

I'm looking into the eyes of these two mass murderers and I often think that there's a place where individuals cross a line from being sinful to being evil, and I like to see myself on the line of being sinful but not evil, and I put these two guys in the evil category. And then I remembered reading a few years later about this guy who was the henchman of Pole Pot, living in the jungle, hiding, and he came to know Jesus Christ. Some missionary in the jungle found him, shared the gospel with him. He came to know Jesus Christ and it was so real that he turned himself into the Cambodian government to stand trial for all the murders that he had done.

Darrow Miller:

That's how real it was, and. I realized, no one is beyond the grace of God, and that was a lesson for me. And so, bottom line they may be brothers and sisters in Christ, but if they're not, they're brothers and sisters in Adam and Eve and we need to, even though we would maybe vehemently disagree with them, still relate to them as human beings.

Scott Allen:

That's so good, darrell. Yeah, just that idea that God doesn't write people off. It's amazing to me. The grace of God, here's this guy that you've written off as evil beyond redemption.

Darrow Miller:

Really redemption, yeah, beyond redemption.

Scott Allen:

And yet here's God. Nope, I'm going to pursue him. Yeah, no it's going to happen, and I'm stunned by that over and over again. Nobody, like you say, is beyond God's redeeming love. And if that's the case, how does that change the way we see people when we have fundamental disagreements with them?

Darrow Miller:

Right, and how do we relate to them?

Scott Allen:

That has to do with our own heart, our own kind of the way we see them. Do we write them off? Do we just say, hey, done over.

Darrow Miller:

Yeah, I'm out of here.

Scott Allen:

I'm out of here? No, because that's not the way God deals with them or with us, right? Thank God for that.

Darrow Miller:

I'd like to read something and this came from my mentor, francis Schaefer a sermon that he wrote that became a small little booklet called the Mark of the Christian, and I don't know how many of you've read that or heard the sermon, but it's one of those sermons that just goes straight to the heart when you hear it. And it was taken from John, chapter 17, where Jesus is praying, and of course, in this prayer he's praying for himself, and then he's praying for the church, and then he's praying for those who have believed because of the church, and in verse 20, he says this my prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message. So he's praying for us today, those who have believed in Christ because of those who were our predecessors. Father, just as you are in them and I am in you.

Darrow Miller:

Let's see, I'm sorry, I pray for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one. Jesus is praying for us that we are one, father, just as you are in me and I am in you. That's how one he prays that we will be. May they be in us so that the world may also be in us so that the world may believe that you sent me. How is the world going to believe that the Father sent the Son by the unity of God's people?

Darrow Miller:

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. So he says it again I am them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. So we're talking today about unity. We're talking about division, and this is in Jesus' prayer before he goes to the cross. What is he praying for? For the unity of God's people, so that the world will know that the Father sent the Son and we started early with this saying what's the umbrella? Where are we operating? What's the framework? That's? The Father loves the Son and the Son loved us so much that he gave his life for us, and his prayer is that we would be in unity. So how do we focus on the kingdom of God? How do we focus on being one, even in the midst of divisions? That has to be a higher priority than the thing that we're fighting over, and somehow we need to keep that in focus.

Scott Allen:

Darrell, I've got thoughts on Jesus. Obviously this prayer is so powerful and this prayer for unity and the value of unity. The purpose of it is that the world would know so that the stakes are so high. But it can't just be again. A unity without a core of acknowledgement of the truth, there can't be some kind of papered over unity here.

Darrow Miller:

I'm not arguing for that. I think in fact, you need clarity more than consensus.

Scott Allen:

Yes, right. But, the clarity around the core should mean something. Yeah, I think 1.

Luke Allen:

John 3 18 addresses this when it's talking about how we seek this unity in Christ, and it says Dear children, let us not love with words and speech, but with actions and with truth, so we love with truth. So again, that's getting to that core way that we love one another as Christ loved us. It's not just in words and in speech, but in actions and truth.

Scott Allen:

That's right yeah.

Dwight Vogt:

I'm just sitting here thinking you know, the three or five of us are on this call together and are we in unity? And we are. But what if we're not? Do I get you to agree with me and we're all in unity? Do you have to think exactly like me and then we're all in unity? Is there somehow in this command of love that I can create unity here, because I am going to love you, guys, no matter what you know, no matter what, and I'll love you towards what I think is true? But somehow the unity comes from me saying I'm going to love that person, I'm going to love some. I don't understand how that works, but somehow I think, luke, I agree with you.

Scott Allen:

There's love at the core of unity. But I want to just say one thing, dwight I think you're right that we, we can't create unity, either through truth or love, in a sense, but what we can do is not close the door to it. Right, you know, we we right, you can love somebody that you fundamentally disagree with, but that doesn't mean that they're going to change. They may not, but the love part means I'm not going to close the door. Right, if you choose to close it, I can't do anything.

Scott Allen:

I can't do anything about that. I don't control you, but I'm not going to do it because I'm going to. I choose to love you and so the door is going to remain open. You know, and I'm even going to pursue, I'm going to even pursue you, I'm going to continue to pursue our relationship because of love. Does that mean we're going to be unified? Maybe. I mean, at least the door is open to it. But it, you know the, and I think that's, I think that's that's how I understand it in my own life. I don't want to, I don't want to cut people off, even if we have fundamental disagreements. You know, the fundamental disagreement means we're not, we aren't unified. We are not. But I don't want to exclude that from happening in the future.

Scott Allen:

Again, one of the verses that has helped me a lot of late on this subject is well, two, two. One is one that we all know. You know it's talking about spiritual warfare in Ephesians, and it says Paul says to us remember that your enemy isn't flesh and blood. That one has helped me a lot because it gets our focus when we're in, when we're fighting and in division with people at a fundamental level. It gets me, it reminds me I don't have human enemies. Ultimately, I have one enemy, and it's it's Satan, right? And so then, what do we do with with people when we have fundamental divisions? Well, first of all, as Dero said, I think it's important to see them as people that are not beyond God's grace. Not, you know not. God's going to continue to pursue them in love, and we ought to as well. That they're not our enemies, satan is. And then, second, timothy two, 25 and 26 brings these both together, I think, in a very powerful way. Listen to it.

Scott Allen:

Timothy Paul says here he says opponents. Okay, when he says opponents, he's talking about people that have fundamental disagreements. I think opponents must be gently instructed in hopes that God will grant them repentance, leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil who has taken them captive to do as well. There's just a few thoughts on this, or so much in this. First of all, he recognizes we've got opponents right, that there's division.

Scott Allen:

But what's our attitude towards them? It says it's not to hate them, it's not to write them off, it's not to give up on them. They should be instructed in the truth, gent, but the word gently is so key here. Gently, right, because we are all prone to error, right, and so you know. So you know we have to be careful ourselves, right. But then it's also in hope that God will help them to change their mind that's what the word repentance means so that they will regain a knowledge of the truth, come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil. There's the devil there, behind this again. That's the enemy, and he's trying to ensnare them, to kill them, to destroy them.

Scott Allen:

So, we don't want to see these people destroyed. We want them saved, and you know so. This is our role, and our role isn't to just say, oh, these divisions or these differences that we have don't matter, to paper them over. No, it's to hold on to the truth. We want them to come back to a knowledge of the truth, and we have to be active in that. We have to, we have to speak the truth. That's what I think we're getting at here in terms of gently instructed right. So I that one to me has just been so helpful personally in my own engagement with people who I have fundamental disagreements with. You guys we were getting close to the end. I'd love to hear any thoughts that you know. What are things that have helped you? You know, darrow shared some things. Anyone else? Things that help you to know how to respond when we have these fundamental disagreements and divisions.

Luke Allen:

Well, just to highlight what you were just saying again, dad, I think it really does help to define the enemy, to find the who the opponent here is. And that's the devil, that Satan. We don't fight against flesh and blood, which is very, very hard to do sometimes. We always want to fight against flesh and blood because we are right in front of us you know, like Pol Pot. That's a bad guy, but now he's not the enemy, the enemies, the enemy Satan behind that.

Darrow Miller:

You had something to add if you were going to say no, I agree with that.

Dwight Vogt:

For me, it's to get this, to get my mind around. This idea of Satan is the deluder. Satan is the sower of lies. Satan is the deceiver. Yeah he's the source of evil.

Scott Allen:

And he's doing it to kill people, to destroy them.

Dwight Vogt:

Right.

Scott Allen:

You know that's what he wants and you know we need to. We need to fight against that. We don't want people to be destroyed.

Darrow Miller:

I think there's another thing that we don't have time to go into today, but it's worthy of reflection upon. Jesus said that we are to take up our cross and follow him, and when we are in a situation where there is disagreement or conflict, are we willing to take the suffering on ourselves rather than put it on somebody else?

Scott Allen:

Explain that a little bit. Darrell, Can you give give give more context or examples.

Darrow Miller:

Yeah, I think Martin Luther King Jr going into the south to face the dogs and the whips and all of that, he was willing to take on the weight of the evil on his own life and go to jail and it was his taking on the weight of the evil of that moment in the south. That was one of the things that I think brought people to their senses. But if he pulled out a gun and started shooting the cops and shooting the dogs that were attacking him, what would have happened?

Darrow Miller:

Uh-huh, I see what you're saying, but he was willing to take that evil and carry the burden of it so that people could be free. And that's exactly what Jesus did. He took our sin on him and paid the penalty of our sin, and I think that it wasn't just Christ who did that, that he has called us to be people who will do likewise. Is that easy? No, but in terms of the issue we're talking about today of division, are we willing to pay a price for the division to be healed? And I think what you're saying, scott, is a step in that direction. I'm not going to cut off, I'm not going to cut myself off from the person. That's of like mind, that's of like. That's a good thing. But the next step is am I willing to take the pain that comes out of this and pay the price?

Scott Allen:

Because you can avoid that by just cutting off the relationship.

Scott Allen:

I'm going to avoid the pain that comes with this and I'm going to turn my back. I think of for whatever reason I've got this idea in my mind of this. I won't name names, but a mother that her son came out and said hey, I'm homosexual and started living a flagrant homosexual lifestyle. So that's a fundamental difference. There she's a Christian mother and her response was not to cut him off, although I'm sure that was very tempting in some ways. But she stayed engaged. She didn't cut off the relationship. She prayed for him. She prayed and fasted with tears, and it caused her a lot of pain and suffering that she potentially could have avoided if she just wrote him off.

Scott Allen:

Exactly that's what I hear you say, Darrell.

Dwight Vogt:

And sometimes that creates misunderstanding among your friends. It's like why haven't you written them off? Oh, now you're one of them and you can be easily misunderstood.

Darrow Miller:

And that's again part of taking on the pain.

Scott Allen:

And by the way this young man became a Christian and credits his mom for not giving up. I mean, just, the power of that is yeah, so it's very powerful. So, yeah, I think we can have fundamental differences and we don't want to paper over these differences there too, because we have a higher commitment to truth and, again, you can only build unity at the end of the day, true unity around truth, but that doesn't mean that we write people off, we cut them off. No, that's not Christian, that's not biblical. You know, and I think that's what we're saying here at the end of the day, guys, tim, thoughts from you, any thoughts. You know, I know that this is something that's personal for you too, and you know this is something you wrestle with. What thoughts do you have to share? Encouragement to our listeners on this.

Tim Williams:

Sure, yeah, just listening to you guys as you reflected about the church a hundred years ago and kind of this division that eventually became, you know, mainstream churches evangelical churches. I think about the human temptation, even within myself, to kind of compromise on this idea of truth. I grew up in a truly postmodern home where truth really was not. I don't even know how to describe it, it just wasn't a value, it wasn't believed in.

Tim Williams:

Yeah, objective truth was really not part of my home growing up, but seeing it and understanding it more as an adult, you know. I just look back with you guys at this division in the church a hundred years ago and I see the mainstream church lost any influence that the gospel and the Bible had in bringing flourishing to the people that they supposedly cared about by just acquiescing and letting go of truth.

Scott Allen:

Yeah, they became exactly like the culture right.

Tim Williams:

Yeah, if we're going to you know, disciple and influence the culture, we have to stand for truth If we care about people it's not writing them off.

Tim Williams:

No, it's lovingly and gently being available to instruct. I have a kind of funny passage in Proverbs that I like to look at. I don't know if it'll be useful to anyone else. You know, proverbs sometimes has a way of talking out of its mouth on both sides and sometimes that's useful because in situations you need kind of both sides. But Proverbs, chapter 26, verse four and five, it says do not answer a fool according to his folly or you yourself will be just like him. Verse five answer a fool according to his folly or he will be wise in his own eyes. And it even goes along with the context of what you were looking at in 2 Timothy, where you know the instruction of Timothy is don't get caught up in arguments that aren't going anywhere.

Tim Williams:

You know, we know when there is a receptive heart and a receptive spirit and we can speak and we can show compassion and it's received and it's meaningful, and we know when we're just talking into the air and we can run out of breath from just talking into the air when no one is listening and nobody cares about what we're saying.

Tim Williams:

So I think you know the instruction out of those Proverbs is to be discerning you know, don't give up, but also don't spin your wheels, you know, and look for the times when speaking truth is going to be heard.

Scott Allen:

That's good Tim.

Tim Williams:

Pray for those times, because God wants to give you those times Really good word there. God's crazy about the people that you want to show. Yeah, pray, I just pray.

Scott Allen:

You're so key on this, so thanks for bringing that into this. You know, just praying for, you know, people's hearts to be open to the truth, you know, and that they would, you know, come to their senses, as Paul said to Timothy right, and escape the trap of the devil. That's a spiritual, this is a spiritual battle here, right? This ultimately is, and so we have to fight it with spiritual weapons.

Tim Williams:

I could give a one second testimony. That was just. You know, I'd had years ago some very condescending conversation with a person about faith and, you know, didn't really want to go back to that, but I really felt God putting it on my heart and so I just prayed. I said God, you know, give me an opportunity to speak well, because I care about this person. And I prayed, I asked other people to pray and I had a beautiful conversation where I was able to share and felt really respected and never imagine that would be possible. I just credit it to God's desire for this person that I love, you know so that's great.

Scott Allen:

That's great. Yeah, Good for you, Tim. I think all you guys inspire me. Honestly, Dwight, I look at your life a lot and you inspire me a lot because you have friendships and you work at friendships, where you do have fundamental worldview differences with people, and yet you don't, you refuse to say I'm going to put all of that relationship into this box of fundamental disagreement. I'm going to find places where where I can build a friendship with this person around that, just like you said, the fact that they're made in God's image and loved by God, and you know, and so you have a friendship, a genuine friendship. How do you, you know, Dwight, do you tend to avoid those topics where you have fundamental disagreement? What do you do?

Luke Allen:

You know I'm serious like what do you do?

Scott Allen:

Yes, yes, Okay, yes, you just tend to avoid them, and I do too, although I do pray. I do pray and look for opportunities right, you know God, when the time is right, I do want to speak to that. I don't want that fundamental disagreement to continue. I don't, I mean because I can't, we can't have the kind of unity that you want while that still exists, but I'm, I still can be a friend, right yeah, go ahead.

Dwight Vogt:

I say that and I probably am a coward, and I'm guilty of that, but I also, I also you know I have.

Dwight Vogt:

I have the strong sense that if you know what you believe and you know it's true and you live by it and you hold onto it in your core, it's going to be clear. I heard recently of a lady that was talking and she was talking to a friend and the friend said it was a neighbor. And she says you know, we've got a big problem in my family with the sickness, and would you pray for me? And she goes why would you ask me to pray? And she goes well, you're a Christian. And she thought well, we just met. You hardly even know me, you don't. I've never said anything about the Lord.

Luke Allen:

Oh, you're a Christian, you're a.

Dwight Vogt:

Christian. Huh. Would you pray for me?

Scott Allen:

And it was like, oh my goodness, I had no idea.

Dwight Vogt:

So I think, I think the starting point is to hold on to the truth and to believe it and to and it will be expressed so Well- guys.

Scott Allen:

Yeah, this is so good, and I hesitate to bring it to an end because I feel like we're getting into some really good stuff right now, although we are kind of out of time. I'm sure there's a lot more that you guys have on your hearts to share, but I think what we got out on the table today was fantastic and some good stuff. And I just want to our listeners here today I guess I would just encourage you who are those people, maybe even in your own family or church that you have these fundamental disagreements with what is God calling you to today in terms of your response to those people? How have some of the things that we've said here maybe encouraged you, and can you, can you act on that? You know, I think you know what can you do, even today.

Scott Allen:

I think the fundamentally living in the truth, living out a biblical worldview comes down to these basic relationships that we have every day, and often they're the most difficult ones that we have to live with. You know the truth of our. You know, if we want to be people of the truth and live in the truth, it comes down to these hard and difficult relationships. Quite frankly, are we faithful at that level. So I want to encourage you guys and myself and all of our listeners, to be faithful at that level today. Guys, thanks for your great insights and your wisdom, and thank you all for listening to another episode of Ideas have Consequences the podcast of the Disciple Nations Alliance.

Luke Allen:

Thank you for listening. Ideas have Consequences is brought to you by the Disciple Nations Alliance. To learn more about our ministry, you can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, or on our website, which is DiscipleNationsorg. Also, if you'd like to learn more about our free online worldview training courses, just go to qurmdalecom. As the summer is wrapping up and we're looking towards the fall, we hope you are all able to continue joining us here on Ideas have Consequences and able to tune in to our upcoming episodes with special guests Wayne Grudem, Jeff Myers, Elizabeth humans, Jessica Shakir, Marvin Alasky and Dr George Barnum, just to name a few. So again, we're hoping you're able to continue to join us here on our podcast, Ideas have Consequences. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next week.

Introduction
United under a common vision
Is today’s church division deeper than a theological divide?
How does the Bible instruct us to seek unity?
Final thoughts and takeaways