"How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity" (Psalm 133:1).
On Monday I had the privilege to be involved in our town's Memorial Day ceremony. After I offered an opening prayer I took my seat on the stage as another minister gave a short message. Clearly this man and I were very different theologically. I'm sure we would probably disagree on a number of things: church polity, ends times, the doctrines of Grace, and perhaps many more. Even so, I sat in my chair silently praising God as this brother opened the word and told this small crowd about the reality of sin, the atonement provided by Jesus Christ, and the need to put our faith in Him. His words were bold and wise...and most importantly clear about the Gospel.
Theology is important. Just because a doctrine is one of the "non-essentials" doesn't mean its unimportant. I want churches everywhere to come to decisions on things such as baptism, spiritual gifts, women in ministry, and end times scenarios. But I also want us to be willing to call brothers brothers and sisters sisters. If someone holds to Christ and His true Gospel he is my brother, despite his theological difference. Don't be foolish and run to the other extreme and declare "doctrine divides". That is the war cry of heretics and demons. But, do very much cry "Christ unites"!
Jeremiah Burroughs once wrote
"The Mohammedans (who worship a cursed impostor), the pagans (who worship the sun, moon, and stars), and the Egyptians (who worship onions, leeks, cats, and dogs) never had such divisions among them as the worshippers of Jesus Christ have had, and have at this today among themselves."
There is a division that is caused when we look to Christ, and a division that is caused when we look away. May we be guilty of the former, but never the latter.