On Friday an acquaintance from work peered over my shoulder and scanned an email I was typing up (well, acquaintance is such a non committal word isn’t it? I guess we’re more than colleagues, I mean, we’ve been chatting about important stuff for years. Stuff like “America vs The World” and “Crossing the Rubicon”, “the Spanish Flu of 1918” and “ELO ratings”… and Jesus Christ).
Anyways, I was typing a letter to an elder in the church that I attend about our involvement with another church, assisting them with a ministry shortfall that they have. Basically I was expressing some concerns around doctrinal differences and whether or not that should impact our working relationship. I used lofty words like dispensational and covenantal, eschatology and soteriology (I know, I know, I’m such a faker).
Well, the guy isn’t a Christian, but he kind of wants to know a bit about every topic under the sun so he asked, “What is all that?”
Now I have a desire to live 1 Peter 3:15 on my shirt sleeve (and Peter was talking to an audience under far more pressure than I ever experience) and so the conversation got started.
We like to walk and talk so we went for a stroll to the café. About half an hour later I felt mentally exhausted, he was information overloaded and I don’t think anyone of us was any the wiser for the effort.
It was then that he reminded me of a joke I had received from my father a few weeks earlier: “I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well, are you religious or atheist?” He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too! Are your Christian or Buddhist?” He said, “Christian.” I said, “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, Me too! Are your Episcopalian or Baptist? He said, “Baptist!” I said, “Wow! Me too! Are your Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord? He said, Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are your Original Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?” He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?” He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!” I said, “Die, heretic scum!” and pushed him off.”
Thing is sometimes we take ourselves (by that I mean Christians) very seriously don’t we, and often for all the wrong reasons. That said, are there any real deal breakers? Well yes, take salvation for instance. Paul said to the church in Galatia:
Heavy words and a clear line in the proverbial sand.
I know I have plenty but what are your deal breakers?