A postmillennialist and a dispensationalist walked into a bar. Okay, that would likely never happen. But it might happen that these two would find themselves gathering in a new blog collective. Such is the case on Gospel Spam where I, a Calvinist dispensationalist, have joined a couple of postmillennialists in a new collaboration. With a few other brothers joining in this new adventure, who are sure to have diverse theological backgrounds (including another fellow pesky dispensationalist), this will be an interesting and unconventional coalition of nonconformists.
I accepted the invitation to contribute to Gospel Spam to perhaps show how brothers united in Christ, who have a high view of God and a high of Scripture, yet differing on other key theological doctrines, can still come together to discuss important issues impacting the church and the culture.
For example and to show my cards out the gate, I am a Calvinist, a futuristic premillennialist, credobaptist, cessationist, and have a New Covenant understanding of God’s Law. I’m probably the Black Sheep in the group (with the exception of Marcus maybe being the Black Sheep on infant baptism). I disagree with my reformed brothers on reforming the culture and “taking dominion”, not that I do not desire to see a global revival, I just don’t see that being the outworking of God’s plan of redemption this side of the tribulation (gasp!). Where we agree, however, is the preaching of the Gospel is our mission, regardless if we disagree on how it all ends.
They believe the Gospel will reform the culture before Christ returns; I believe the Gospel commission will continue as it always has to save Christ’s sheep found in every tribe, nation, and tongue until He returns to set up His earthly Kingdom. They think things will get better; I think they will get worse. They might believe I get my eschatology from the Left Behind series, whereas I think they are inconsistent with their view of the law and God’s distinctive plans for the church and Israel. But both of us believe we are informed by the Scriptures, and my experience with these brothers over the last couple of years is we can disagree on these things respectfully and maturely, without attacking one another’s character or raising up [too many] straw men.
Similar to what can be found in this video on how to discuss reformed theology, my hope is the reader might see how men of different theological convictions can rally together to preach the Gospel and engage the culture, while being men holding to their convictions without compromise. I may not agree with everything published on Gospel Spam, I may not agree with how it’s said, I may not agree with their disagreements of other Christians or their ministries, but I expect our disagreements to be charitable. I expect to see lively discussion and debate even among the contributors of Gospel Spam (perhaps even rebuttal articles), but I expect it to be respectful and hope it sets the tone for all discussion here and elsewhere on the interwebs.
I mean, look at how Pastor John MacArthur welcomes Dr. RC Sproul to speak at conferences, and vice versa. That is a Covenantal partial preterist partnering in the Gospel with a Calvinist dispensationalist – the gap really doesn’t get wider than these theological differences. But they love one another, and they labor together with unity in Christ.
Look at the diversity of the speakers at conferences like G3, Shepherds, Together for the Gospel, 9 Marks, etc. How is it that these men vary on any number of doctrines, but come together to preach Christ and Him crucified?
Then why don’t we see more of a trickle down into how we communicate with saints we disagree with on the internet? I wonder if the way some speak to one another is the way they would speak to one another over a cup of coffee? You may disagree with theonomy like I do, but would you speak to Dr. Greg Bahnsen – the theonomist – over coffee the way you speak to theonomists on the internet? Would you speak to Pastor Steve Lawson – the dispensationalist – over coffee the way you speak to dispensationalists on the internet? Try thinking about that before the next time you hit enter on the keyboard.
The bottom line, we need to stop treating one another like the enemy. You may take issue with one’s eschatology or mode of baptism, but don’t think you can’t be kind and gracious in your disagreement, or that you are not in unity. If you are in Christ and they are in Christ, you are in unity!
If you want to find the best unity, you’re not going to find it on the internet. You’re going to find the best unity in the local church among like-minded believers. But this does not negate our unity in Christ in the church universal, and it does not remove our obligation to be patient, kind, longsuffering, and loving toward one another.
Over the years, I have seen my fair share of confrontation in social media, and the manner of which many disagree is mostly deplorable. If Jesus said they will know us by our love that we are His disciples, let’s exemplify that in the way we disagree on the internet. Perhaps Gospel Spam will play a small part in promoting this not-so-novel idea, even where articles might be a little rough around the edges.
I am hopeful and expectant good things will take place here. No doubt ideas and traditions will be challenged, perhaps even a few feathers ruffled, but if there is potential to promote love and unity among saints who disagree, I think that’s worth any risk and surely the effort – how about you?