Every so often, I will be asked via email to weigh in on theologically controversial topics. For instance, what day is the right day to worship? Or, what is the right view and practice on baptism? Now, I welcome the questions, but I need to explain something about Lambchow and this ministry.
Lambchow is by nature and design “parachurch” meaning we are outside the normal denominational boundaries. We strive to encourage all believers and seekers regardless of their particular flavor of Christian understanding and practice. This often means standing in the middle and pulling truth from all sides of a controversy. Giving neither side a victory or a defeat but welcoming what they bring to the table of fellowship.
The reason for this is simple, “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5, NASB95) Our desire is that all who take the time to read Lambchow will be encouraged, strengthened, and challenged in their faith and love of Christ, and to encourage openness towards the Holy Spirit. And this regardless of where they are on their journey of faith, whether skeptic, seeker, or saint. Without regard to anyone’s Christian heritage, theology, and practices. Our desire is to always point to Jesus, trusting the Holy Spirit for each person’s continued growth.
This is not to say that all should adopt this teaching stance. Denominations and movements need to express their distinct doctrines and practices. But they should do so without a mentality of judgment or the assumption that they are the only ones who have it right or do it best.
Why do we fall into that trap so easily? What drives that need to be right, to have it all figured out, and to devalue what others are doing with faithful obedience and effort. Why is it so hard to accept our differences? I don’t have the answer, only the observations of long years. Seeing many times when the faithful labor of others was judged, demeaned, and condemned. I may not feel comfortable with another’s methods, but who am I to condemn another servant in Christ?
Lambchow is different because we endeavor to encourage all. There will be some fights which we will not take a stand on. But there will be some controversies where we may state a viewpoint while giving the Holy Spirit room to adjust our own understanding. We welcome the questions. But I also wanted it known why Lambchow doesn’t take sides in many of the thorny debates which have separated the Body of Christ for generations.
I do, of course, have my own views on these topics and controversies. In some cases, I do truly stand in the middle, acknowledging the inherent tension contained in scripture concerning certain views. Much to the dismay of folks on either side. But in other cases, I also have a particular view but strive to hold it without judgment for those with a different understanding. And there are times when someone holds something totally outside of any Christian teaching, they are not rejected but responded to with Biblical truth and love.
My encouragement today is this. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself. (see Matthew 22:37–40, NASB95) Last time I checked that person down the street who goes to a different church is your neighbor. More than that, they are your brother or sister in Christ. Not better or worse, just different. Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35, NASB95)