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Conflict is inevitable. What we do with it can have far-reaching consequences. The attitude we take into a conflict (planned or otherwise) greatly effects the outcome.

It is amazing what we do not realize about the way we think – our mindset, paradigms, attitudes. I had no conscious thought of my approach to conflicts until God hit me with the contrast. Two meetings, both occurring within a week of each other, forever adjusted my conflict attitude. Here’s my story:

In the first meeting – a Bible study of Romans – we had arrived at Paul’s exhortation on baptism (chapter six). As the teacher introduced the topic, you could literally feel and see the tension rise in the room. At least half the participants moved to the edge of their chairs waiting, it seemed, to hear the teacher say something with which they did not agree. Looking back, I am convinced that many ears were closed to hearing, and the Holy Spirit was grieved.

The second meeting was a blessed contrast. As with the first, there were people from various church fellowships and denominations. The passage being discussed was Jesus’ instruction regarding the consumption of His flesh and blood. Someone in the group asked, “What did Jesus mean when He said, ‘unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you (John 6:53).'”

After some time of quiet contemplation, one brother said he wasn’t sure, but thought it meant “so and so”. A second brother added, “And it means ‘such and such’ to me.” Several others offered their opinions.

To be honest, I can’t remember what any of them said about the meaning. All I heard in my spirit was the “and” of their responses – the “and” attitude of their hearts. At no time during the conversation was “no” or “or” used. No one corrected or disagreed with the others. It was truly amazing; so amazing that I almost missed the most amazing thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowI will never forget that meeting. The lesson that day was being taught by a gifted teacher. He had been teaching from Romans for several months; and had come to Romans 6. For some reason, he felt it necessary to warn everyone that he would be discussing “baptism”.

Almost immediately, at least half the men in the room moved to the edge of their seats; leaning forward in anticipation of what the teacher would say next. You could feel the tension in the room intensify. I wasn’t the only one that noticed: The teacher tentatively covered the topic – like someone walking through a mine field.

Let’s face it, right here at the beginning: “Baptism” has become one of the most polarizing – dare we say, divisive – doctrines in the church. Whole denominations are at odds with one another over what they believe the other believes about baptism. How could a sacrament of God – a sacred God moment – become such a destructive force?

How can there be so many doctrines of baptism? Surely, I am not the only one that sees the irony in our “doctrines of baptism” – that the word of God has the opposite singular and plural context:

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. Hebrews 6:1-3

There is only one doctrine; and it is the doctrine of many baptisms.

Let me be clear: I am not proposing to be an authority on the doctrine of baptisms. I would much rather find the truth than claim to have it. I believe the Holy Spirit speaks in community; in response to Jesus’ prayer for our unity (John 17:20-23).

Honestly, I am hoping for the attitude of another meeting. The question of communion came up (from John 6): What does it mean to eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood? Everyone in the room offered their opinion on the meaning of the passage.  Amazingly, no one said anyone else was wrong. There was a supernatural attitude of humility and respect.

More importantly, there was a genuine desire to discover the meaning of a mystery. The Holy Spirit taught me something about communion that day; and He taught me something about community – God speaks in it, when people desire to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.

Yes, there is an understanding that I currently hold – and am even confident in – in regards to the doctrine of baptisms. However, I have been wrong before, and I just might be wrong again. As a good friend of mine likes to say, “It may not mean what I think it means, but it must mean something.” My hope is that there is something here that encourages, edifies and equips you in your search for the lost foundations.

Furthermore, Read the rest of this entry »


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