So, Who ya Got?

25 Jan

My wife asked me recently who I thought was correct—Paul or Barnabas. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, basically you have two men who served together on a missionary journey. They started the journey with John Mark, but the young man left sometime before the end of the journey. When they were beginning the next missionary journey, Uncle Barnabas wanted to bring along John Mark again, yet Paul was against it. The dissension was so sharp that they decided to go separately.

According to my reading of the Scriptures, I am not sure if Paul and Barnabas ever completely reconciled. There is some evidence, though, that both of them led teams that were used of God! While we are not sure that Paul ever completely reconciled with Barnabas, we do know that Paul later found John Mark useful to the ministry (not just the ministry in general, but specifically profitable to Paul’s ministry).This reminds me of a debate question posed to me by the late Dr. Hook where he wanted to know if we should make our ethical decisions based on a Daniel model or an Esther model. In both of these cases I come to the same conclusion. They are both correct!

Now lest I be accused of being too post-modern, I want to assert that in matters of doctrine, we must remain firm. We must not relent on issues where the Bible gives clear direction. Yet I feel that the dissension between Paul and Barnabas was a personal dispute based upon a judgment call. Sometimes I think they can both be right. I believe neither Paul nor Barnabas let the conflict distract them from their respective efforts of spreading the gospel and because of it, even more work was accomplished for the Lord!

Perhaps this is striking a special chord in me, because many people in my state are currently talking to me about for whom they should vote in the upcoming Presidential primary. Let me assert that I think educated voting is very important. It is vitally important to study the issues and determine what you think is most important and vote that way (Incidentally, should you feel you need a little persuasion, I will gladly educate you). While I believe some issues are biblically mandated to come out a certain way, I feel many of the issues fall into the category where there isn’t a clear answer given in the Scriptures.

In these last few weeks, I’ve talked to many educated, godly people and read blogs by similarly qualified people, and they come to completely different conclusions. I think it mostly comes to a matter of preference. And while this has been a hard realization at which I have arrived, probably because I struggle with equating my political persuasions to the same level as the Scriptures, I think it may be OK that we have differences.

I guess what I would say is that similar to the Paul and Barnabas situation, God is already aware of what will occur. God has already worked all of these things out for the good of those who are called according to His purpose. As someone who is readily aware of his own depravity, I realize that the leaders I deserve are godless and persecuting, but I continue to pray (and have faith) that I will have leaders better than I deserve. Do not let these diversions of political persuasion distract you from your respective effort of spreading the gospel. Commit to your civic responsibility and vote, but recognize that your greater responsibility is not to conform someone to your political ideology, but to show them the truth of the gospel, allow God to do his work, and perhaps God will work in them to show them my political ideology!

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One Response to “So, Who ya Got?”

  1. Jenni May 8, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    I agree that two different approaches can be correct. I agree that politics are decidedly less important than faith. I agree that two very educated people can come to different conclusions. But I'm kind of having a hard time agreeing that it's cool to join a harem and try to entice a king sexually better than all of the other girls in order to be put in a position where he might get your point later on. (At least I hope my daughter never uses that particular approach.) I sort of see Esther as a book that absolutely proclaims God's sovereignty "in spite of."But the great thing about that is that if you don't agree with me, we could go our separate ways and still both possibly be effective.

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