Boy has it been an interesting weekend. Well, not that interesting, but it did catch a little attention on my Twitter*. If you are familiar with my YouTube videos and blogs, you may have noticed that I believe that God loves the whole world and desires for all to repent and believe in His son Jesus Christ, and yet He has placed that condition. I have always held these views even before hearing the word, "Provisionism"*. Upon hearing about what Provisionism stands for, I found it easy to identify with, and practical to use this new term since other labels didn't describe everything that I believe and hold to be Biblical Christianity. I also found heated disagreements.
Although disagreement over the correct Biblical interpretation is nothing new, it still is surprising to observe the way each individual goes about disagreeing. Something rather new is, however, the inclusion of the internet and social media as a medium on which people make public their disagreements and interact with each other. This may be influencing more than we are aware.
Followers of Jesus, no matter what the setting or situation, are always required by Scripture to be different than the world. We are to speak differently, and live differently. The way the world uses social media will not excuse our disobedience to God's commands. What Scripture teaches us about how we treat one another applies in every moment of our life, including behind a screen.
There seems to be a fine line when it comes to communicating our disagreements and attacking those that disagree with us. Both do not come in the same package. I've noticed that opposing sides, regarding Provisionism, feel misrepresented by each other. It is true that misrepresentation can be done on purpose for various reasons, but it is also possible that what one perceives as misrepresentation is actually one's own beliefs about the implications that follow regarding what someone says or believes.
It's important to follow what the Bible teaches us in James 1:19-20, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." In any disagreement, no matter the people involved, it is important to listen to understand. Listening could help lessen misrepresentations and promote unity while disagreeing.
However, if the other side presents reasons for you to consider regarding your beliefs, it is important to also listen to them and carefully consider them and give a thoughtful response. Often, this is not possible to do over social media, and perhaps we need to keep this in mind and look for better ways to go about doing this. Maybe, just maybe, we would love each other better if we put more work into talking about our differences.
One of the qualities of God I most admire is His humility. We read in the Bible about how sinful pride is, and we get pictures of God's humility throughout Scripture. When we follow Jesus, this is what our life should resemble, according to Galatians 5:13-26: "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."
Sometimes it's hard to tell if someone is being combative or loving through technology, and maybe my statements or those of others may come across as "self-righteous", but the truth is that when we are following Jesus, we need to walk out our repentance. What do I mean by this? We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us to truly repent of our sins, in that we do not continue to repeat them. Am I saying it's possible to live a sinless life? Not at all. However, have you noticed that there are some things that the Holy Spirit brings to your attention about Scripture while you are considering to do something sinful, and you are able to obey Him or disobey Him? The Holy Spirit is always faithfully ready to do His part, and we must be committed in doing our part. May God give us wisdom to live according to what His Word teaches us, especially while we disagree and proclaim the truth about God to the world.
*What is Provisionism? https://soteriology101.com/about-2/statement-of-faith/
*My Twitter: https://twitter.com/_susanmorales_
Video explaining what happened: https://youtu.be/IADi-RK95Q0