Christian Disagreement

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Na: Mark Dever on Christian Disagreement
by Motte Brown on May 27, 2007 at 5:44 PM
Mark Dever began his talk this morning with, "Oh how the devil must hate this conference. He must be displeased with this message of discernment, which teaches us how to repudiate him."

I first heard Mark preach exactly 10 days after praying with Senate Chaplin Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie that the Lord would reveal himself to me. And though I don't know exactly when salvation occurred, I know that hearing Pastor Dever for the first time was like eating the most delicious meal I had ever had; like eating the food that C.S. Lewis describes in the land of Narnia. It was satisfying in a way I had never experienced.

It's been 11 years since then. It was great to hear him again.

Mark warned that this talk would be "dense" and "long." It was, thankfully. He gave a very practical, hour and a half message on what Christians should agree upon, what we may disagree about, and how to do it well. Here's a brief summary.

First, in order to determine what Christian should agree upon, you need to evaluate the circumstance. In other words, all Christians do not have to agree on all matters, all the time. For example, a husband and wife need to be on a higher level of agreement than friends or acquaintances; and Christians who go the same church need to be in agreement on a higher level than say, writers and readers of the Boundless Line blog.

With that established, Mark said there are three things on which every Christian must agree: God, The Bible, and The Gospel. He said simply that 1) we must believe in the one true God; the triune God; that He was not made; that He functions as our sovereign Creator and our Judge; and that He is the one we are called to believe in; 2) we must believe that the Bible is inerrant; that God has revealed himself in the Bible, that that's how we know what God is like; and 3) we must believe that Jesus Christ became incarnate and that we are justified before God only through him.

As for doctrine on which sincere believers may disagree, Mark gives four test cases: the millennium, prayers for the dead, complimentarian vs. egalitarian, and evangelism. Not that these things don't matter, they're just non-essential. He rhetorically asks, "Can you have an Evangelical who believes in having women in church leadership? Of course you can. Is it a good idea? No." (Lisa Comment - HELLO - REALLY - so now we think we have authority to label the good christians and the bad christians do we?)

Finally, Mark says that when we must disagree, let's make sure it's evident that we care more about each other than winning the argument. He says that it should always be done with love, respect and sometimes by heeding Romans 14:22, "So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves."

I spoke with Mark afterward and thanked him for message. He said, "I hope it was helpful." It was.

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3 thoughts - add yours!:

  1. Anonymous Says:

    So does anyone else find anything contradictory between the last two paragraphs?

  2. motte.brown Says:

    For what it's worth, I misquoted Mark Dever. Here's what he actually said, "Can you have an Evangelical who believes in women serving as a pastor of a church? Of course you can. Is it a good idea biblically? No."

    You should really listen to the entire message before making a judgment. His main point was that Christians can disagree on this issue because it is non-essential to the Gospel.

    God Bless,

  3. Lisa Says:

    Hi Motte,

    Great to have you here! You seem to be very busy blogging everywhere with boundless and so on so I don't know whether you will get back to read this :)

    I will print off the sermon and take it away with me.

    I do think women can be pastors, My theology on women pastors is very similar to that of Tony Campolo's and as a woman in leadership role this is not something that I have entered into lightly.

    And while I am not saying the following opinion is yours or Mark Dever's at all, Devers comments (just from the quote that you quoted on boundless line) bought back memories to me of reading this article of what women could do in church which I find to be very limiting on not only women but also on the work of the Holy Spirit and Jesus' redemptive work

    In saying this with the issue of women in leadership issue aside , just from reading your summary on boundlessline I do agree with the main ideas in his argument.