Tribalism is the idea that only people who are like me, in whatever respect, are right. We see it in politics. We see it in school and work cliques. Unfortunately, we also see it in the church. The apostles also weren’t immune to tribalism at times. In Luke 9, we read:
John responded, “Master, we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him because he does not follow us.”Luke 9:49-50
“Don’t stop him,” Jesus told him, “because whoever is not against you is for you.”
Now, yes, there are certain basic ideas that define historic, orthodox Christianity. Things like the Trinity, the deity of Jesus, salvation by faith through grace alone, the sinfulness of humanity and our need for a Savior, etc. These understandings are, in part, what define Christianity as different than other religions.
But there is also room for disagreement. Not every Christian believes the same about the working of certain gifts of the Holy Spirit, or the timing of Jesus’ return, or minute details of how the sovereignty of God and the willed actions of people interact. Yet, we follow the same Jesus and read the same Bible. We have more in common that we do apart.
We are not to look inwardly and say, “Only people who think like me are right!” and thus, functionally, exclude those who might think differently in some aspects. Instead, we are to be for each other, working together, even if our togetherness means we worship weekly under different denominational labels (or no denomination at all).
This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2020 Bible Reading Calendar. All Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible.
Image source: Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash