Like many of my peers, I spent my quarantine wasting hours upon hours scrolling through the soul-sucking app TikTok.
The thing about TikTok is that it’s For You page algorithm is genius. When they say, “for you” they mean “for you.”
As a result, my For You page wound up aligning itself really well to my political opinions and my faith. I am a very politically liberal person, but also a very faithful and dedicated Christian, so I frequently got recommended videos by “progressive Christians.”
While I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a full-blown progressive Christian, I really enjoyed the content. It made me think about my faith in new perspectives.
However, when I scrolled through the comments, there would always be Christians who yelled at the creator, telling them that there was no way they could be a Christian and believe what they do.
Christianity is a religion with incredible diversity. There are thousands of denominations all with their own interpretations of scripture. Opinions on theological issues like baptism, sacraments, tradition, spiritual gifts and more vary from individual to individual, and we as a global church recognize that despite these differences, we all belong to one body.
Yet for some reason, liberal and progressive Christians seem to be the exception to this. Apparently, it’s fine to disagree on transubstantiation, but if one believes homosexuality isn’t a sin, then their faith isn’t real.
I find this mentality so incredibly dangerous because it is rooted in legalism, which we know has always been Satan’s way of attacking the church and undermining its work. To claim that Christianity is simply a set of rules or theological opinions negates the Gospel itself.
We are called Christians. Christ-ian. The only requirement for being a Christian is to believe in Christ’s redeeming sacrifice for us and to follow him.
Historically we can see the great harm that has come to the church when we try to exclude our brothers and sisters. For centuries Protestants and Catholics battled bitterly, going so far as killing each other over what we now consider to be small theological differences in the grand scheme of God’s plan.
Our current cultural climate is just as divisive in many ways. With the United States split angrily between party lines and with all of the suffering and pain in this world, the church simply cannot afford to gatekeep and exclude its own members, and honestly, we were never called to do so in the first place.
Instead, we must take wisdom from our brother Paul before us.
For example, hear his rebuke of the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. In this passage, Paul addresses growing disagreements among the Christians in Corinth, who were apparently dividing into factions based on who had baptized them. Paul begs them in verse 10 to instead stay unified stating, “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”
In Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul also encourages unity, asking that the Ephesians “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called… eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Once more, the global church must find unity and reconciliation of theological differences. I’m not saying we should never discuss or debate theology or even attempt to sway our brothers and sisters to what we feel the Holy Spirit is telling us about Scripture. Those are good practices to uphold.
Rather, we must cast away the notion that some believers are not “true” believers because their theology is different than ours. We must stand firm as one body as Christ taught us to be.