Lately, I have been conversing with people from various Christian denominations who all claim to have a proper interpretation of scripture. But logic tells me that there is only one objective truth. If our interpretations contradict, only one of us (or none of us) has the correct answer to many of the puzzling questions of scripture.
This issue is troublesome for me, because if we all have the same Bible and the same Holy Spirit then why so many different interpretations? We claim the Bible is the sole authority over doctrines, but then we turn around and make our own interpretations the gospel truth. To make matters worse, we tend to demonize other Christians who hold different views as “false teachers” or “lesser-than” Christians.
How do we escape this problem? We all have to use our own human logic to interpret scriptures, so how do we avoid making our own logic the supreme rule of truth versus error? The only way out of this dilemma is to allow for disagreement on some of the more complex matters of biblical interpretation.
We must agree to disagree.
Saint Augustine said, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity.” The plain teachings of scripture are essential to the Christian faith, but the more complex teachings that require a significant amount of debate can be left open for interpretation as long as there is no conflict with the essential teachings of scripture.
Christians are still Christians even though they disagree on many things. Calvinists, Arminians, Preterists, Historicists, Futurists, Dispensationalists, Covenentialists, Amillinialists, Pre-millinialists, Post-millinialists, Orthodox, Reformed, Charismatic, Pentecostals are all part of the Kingdom. We all have our hope in the blood of Christ that was shed for our sins.
There is much value in debating the finer points of scripture, for there there is always more to learn. But let us discuss these issues in the spirit of love for one another. We can agree to disagree. Besides, there are some things we will never understand until we get to heaven.