Scripture text for Wednesday, April 21st, 2010: Acts 15:1-41
When I was in law school I had lunch with the same guy nearly every day. And every day we would debate the law, politics, theology, life, sports, and just about everything else we could think of including the best pizza in town. We rarely agreed on any of those things.
Our debates were quite a spectacle too. Before we graduated there were sometimes tables full of people that would join us for lunch and participate in our banter. We were polar opposites and it showed.
My debate partner was also my friend though. And he was my brother in Christ whom I worshipped God with every Sunday.
Acts 15 is for me holy disagreement. It is disagreement that does not lead away from God, but towards it. It is disagreement that does not break apart community, but fosters it. It is disagreement that is honest and safe because the debaters know that despite their intellectual differences, they are one in Christ.
Holy disagreement does not question the sincerity of someone’s faith, but permits faith to be an irresistible bond within which Christians can see things differently. Sometimes everyone will come to an agreement like they did at the Council at Jerusalem and other times they will not like the situation with Paul and Barnabas. But even Paul and Barnabas’ disagreement does not lead to a questioning of each other’s faith, but simply to a parting of ways.
When I graduated from law school, my friend wrote me a note explaining how much he enjoyed our lunch discussions. He then wrote, “I would never vote for you for political office, but I would welcome you as my pastor.” Holy disagreement.
Devotion prepared by Dan Teefey