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In the Line of Fire, from Michael Brown
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Thursday, October 24, 2013
Let's Not Bite and Devour One Another
Michael Brown How do we expose error without dividing the body? How do we hold to our convictions while honoring those who differ with us? In the aftermath of the Strange Fire conference, these are questions we cannot ignore.

Paul issued this strong warning to the Galatians: "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another" (Gal. 5:14-15, ESV).

Here are five important principles to follow if we want to avoid unnecessary casualties:

1. We really do need each other. This is a fundamental principle of how the body operates: "As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you,' nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you'" (1 Cor. 12:20-21).

I said it on the radio when speaking to Phil Johnson from pastor John MacArthur's ministry, and I'll say it again now: I honestly believe that I need John MacArthur and that he needs me. I say that without hyperbole, and I mean it from the heart. (If your first reaction is scorn-in either direction-then I'd say this is something you need to work on.)

It would be arrogant for anyone to think their group or denomination had it all-how much more arrogant would it be for an individual minister to think he or she had it all!-and the fact is, we all have blind spots and we all have strengths and weaknesses.

Rather than despise others who appear to be weak where we are strong, we should instead ask, "How can I serve that brother or sister? And what do they have that I need? How can I learn from them?"

The attitude Jesus condemned was this: "God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this [fill in the blank]" (Luke 18:11).

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