12.06.2009

What's Not As Important


It is natural, when reading the Bible, to equate what is said with what is important. If the Bible talks a lot about God's concern for the poor, or what we do about money, or that we have Him and only Him as our God, we take that high frequency of coverage to mean these are core issues to the believer. What can be harder to divine from a scan of the Bible, but I believe is no less important, is what is not talked about a lot, and therefore what must not be nearly as essential.

There are millions of churches in almost every nation in the world, and we all have access to what the earliest church, in first century Jerusalem, looked like. So while there is obviously room for a wide range of expressions and doctrinal interpretations, given the diversity of experiences and agendas represented by congregations around the globe, it is instructive not only to consider what is covered in the New Testament but what is not covered.

Deliciously, although somewhat tragically as it relates to the unity of the Church, many of today's most divisive and controversial topics are not touched on much in the New Testament. Two come to mind immediately. First, many choose their congregation based on its worship style; but instructions concerning worship style are largely absent from the New Testament. Second, a major dividing point between Protestants and Catholics is the Catholic Church's veneration of Mary, mother of God; and yet, as noted in a recent Desiring God post, Mary isn't mentioned at all in the New Testament after the first chapter of the book of Acts.

I do not mean to conclude that worship style is unimportant, that Mary does not merit some honored status in the Christian faith, or that it is wrong to have strong feelings about any of these subjects. I am just pointing out that the New Testament is noticeably light on its coverage of these two topics. What is clearly stated in the New Testament, let us as a Church get our act together on; and what is given far less coverage, shame on us if we let it enrage, distract, or divide us.

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