Single-Issue Voters & Single-Issue Christians

In the spirit of the upcoming presidential election here is an idea that I’ve been thinking through and its potential ramifications:

Single-issue voters? Abortion. Economy. Health Care. Immigration. Single-issue voters are those known to either give their support or remove their support because of a strongly held belief on a specific issue. Personally, I can think of one issue where I’d consider myself a single-issue voter, but in the end if I have to choose between “the lesser of two evils” I will do so. But should this line of reasoning be the mode of operation within the church?

Some Christians could be called single-issue Christians. These are people that when they visit a church or you get into a conversation the first topic of discussion is “their thing.”  Eschatology. Bible translations. Education choices. Political conspiracy theories. The issues are as wide and diverse as the people themselves. The question out there though is, “Is it ‘ok’ to be a single-issue Christian?”  Of course we answer “no” to everybody’s issue, but our own.

There are a few doctrinal issues on which we are given clear instruction by the Lord that if an organization or church gets wrong then we are to refrain fellowship with them (see Galatians 1:8-9). Doctrines, such as, the virgin birth of Jesus, the deity of Christ, the inspiration of the Scriptures and a handful of others. I can think of a lesser issue that has wide-ranging ramifications at least within a local church context. As a Christian who adheres to believers baptism I would have a very difficult time worshiping in a local assembly that allowed and practiced infant “baptism” or sprinkling. So it does seem that within a local church context there can be “secondary issues” that carry great importance. Unfortunately some attempt to raise their “doctrine” to “borderline virgin birth or inerrancy of Scriptures level.”

What happens when every issue becomes worth fighting over? Unintentionally we raise every issue to a major doctrine level. Not all doctrines carry with them the same weight. As much as I have strongly held personal beliefs I must submit to the greater whole for the greater health of the whole (1 Peter 5.5).

Often what I find disturbing is that the Bible teaches more than just my pet issue (and believe it or not sometimes it doesn’t even teach that). There are some doctrines that I hold with a tight fist (e.g. virgin birth, miracles of Jesus, inerrancy of the Bible, etc), but there are other personal beliefs and practices that I hold with an open hand. That is, for the sake of fellowship and unity with another brother in Christ, I don’t hold them to my specifics and they do so in return. It’s not simply a downplaying of doctrine or even personally held convictions, as much as it is, attempting to maintain the unity of Christ’s body (see 1 Corinthians 1.10).

Is it ok to be a single-issue Christian? Depends on what’s more important: being right or the unity of Christ’s body.

One Response

  1. Thanks Pastor Mosier!

    I think you’ve hit it on the head and I couldn’t agree more!!

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