Will the circle be Unbroken?
September 16, 2009, 19:20
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Fellow travelers circle the wagons for mutual defence

Fellow travelers circle the wagons for mutual defence

Imagine,  if you will, our travel through this vale of tears,  the path of our walk toward Eternity,  using as an analogy the wagon trains from  the western expansion  of the settlers in America in the mid 1800’s.  Each wagon will represent for us a denomination.  We have Jeofurry steering the Baptist wagon,  TheOldAdam in charge of  a  Lutheran wagon,  Rick Warren in a Purpose Driven wagon,  ShawnW  holding the reins on the Preacher Woman wagon,  Bishop Martino in the RCC wagon,  Rev.AndyLittle in the Rainbow Wagon, and Joel Olstein in the Your Best Wagon Now.  These are just some of over one hundred wagons headed for The Promised Land.  Each wagon is sure that they know the best path, and carry the most pleasing cargo.

While there are some definite differences in opinion and style of the occupants, there are definitely many commonalities.

  • a desire to go in the same direction
  • a  belief there is a right and wrong way to get there,only the right way succeeding
  • an eager anticipation of the journeys end
  • agreement that  there is an Enemy who would stop them if he could
  • a belief   [in theory] in loving their neighbor
  • knowledge that the area off the path is fraught with danger
  • reading of a common book, albeit with differing opinions
  • the same Wagon Master commands them all

In the history of the United States people have put aside differences of national origin, language and even denominations to band together.  Alone,  in single transit they would be easy picking for the elements and enemy to pick off.  Together they made history, and a new nation. This fact gives me some hope for the future.  Are Christians as smart as were the settlers?

Some day, perhaps soon, if we do not band together and circle our wagons, the enemy will find us easy to defeat.  Segmented and divided the flaming arrows of the evil one will surround each lone wagon and attack it from all sides.  If the circle is unbroken we will have a safe middle ground, and present a united front. Some of my fellow travelers may be wrong, but at least they are wrong about the right things.  The enemy will not care about our differences of opinion,  they matter not to him.    Anybody headed for our declared destination is fair game.

Stop on over at the Dayspring wagon,  I make a mean plate of beans,  bring some biscuits and we will sing along to the mouth harp.  [ I hear that theoldadam’s wagon has a barrel of beer, but as a Baptist I am sure that is just an evil rumor],  if we stick together  the trip might actually be enjoyable!

19 Comments so far
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Oh Will, this is lovely! I’ll bring the coffee. (Fair warning I like it the way we like our gospel, strong and untainted.)

My “good Baptist” hubby likes a beer now and again, and would be happy to help theoldadam with that barrel. 😉

Comment by Shawn W

I might sneak over with him, but the wagon right behind me is filled with a bunch of people drinking coffee and hugging each other, even though nobody knows anybody’s last name.
They are a great crowd, and i would never wish to disappoint them.
Bring the coffee. I like mine like I like my gospel, strong and full of light, no sweeteners added, I like the taste as is!

Comment by willohroots

Some Christians seem “all certainty.” Maybe it makes them feel heroic, standing against the tide. They see too few gray areas. Everything is a federal case. They have a fundamentalist mindset.

Other Christians seem “all openness.” Maybe it makes them feel humble and cool. They see too few black-and-white areas. They’re giving away the store. They have a liberal mindset — though they may demonstrate a surprising certainty against certainty.

The Bible is our authority as we sort out what deserves certainty and what deserves openness. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 defines the gospel of Christ crucified for our sins, Christ buried and Christ risen again on the third day, according to the Scriptures, as “of first importance.” Here is the center of our certainty.

From that “of first importance” theological address, we move out toward the whole range of theological and practical questions asking for our attention. The more clearly our logic connects with that center, the more certain and the less open we should be. The further our thinking extrapolates from that center, the less certain and the more open we should be.

When a question cannot be addressed by a clear appeal to the Bible, our conclusions should be all the more modest.

The gospel requires us to have high expectations of one another on biblically central doctrines and strategies, and it cautions us to be more relaxed with one another the further we have to move out from the center.

A church or movement may desire, for its own reasons, to define secondary and tertiary doctrines and strategies as important expectations within their own ministry. That’s okay. But then it’s helpful to say, “We know this isn’t a dividing line for Christian oneness. It’s just a decision we’ve made for ourselves, because we think it will help us in our situation. We realize that other Christians will see it differently, and that’s cool.”

May we become more certain where we’ve been too open and more open where we’ve been too certain, according to Scripture alone. And where it seems helpful to provide further definition on our own authority, may we do so with candor and humility but without apology.

Comment by Ike

If we agree that we are saved by Christ, and Christ alone, and not by the accuracy of our doctrine, then we must admit that even those whose doctrine differs from our own, yet seek to serve God and Honor Jesus are saved. I am very specific in my worship, and in my beliefs, as I know I will some day answer to my God. Those people who, in my opinion, have missed the mark to a degree on an issue or two, will answer to that same God, and not to me, not now, or at any time to come. I would wish for a dialog, as on Mars Hill, “come let us reason together” and would be happy to point out many theological areas about which I feel very strongly, but to do so in love, not in an arena of judgementalism.
Ike, there are a lot of wagons I just do not care to ride in, and some I do not want to even adjoin, but there is a day when all who know the name of Christ as Lord must band together, not for political gain, but for survival.
I is hard to argue or disagree after you have been martyred.

That guest spot in the pulpit is still open, Ike, you deserve it!

Comment by willohroots

Wonderful post, Will! I chuckled as I pictured these wagons being circled, but your points are valid.

I know that there is more that binds us than drives us apart, if we chose to see that we are all Christians. However, that said, there are essential truths clearly laid out in God’s word. Those are the things that should bind us together.

I’ve been on that other side in the past year when I started venturing out into the blogosphere. I guess I was surprised at what I read and then dove head in, not realizing that the enemy wants to divide and conquer.

Thanks for the post.

Comment by Joe Chavez

Hi Joe! I do not think that you or I should bend an inch on our beliefs, and I would rather that everyone just jumped into our wagon, but that just isn’t going to happen, is it? I really feel a lot of the other wagons have a loose axle, if you get my drift, but it is America, and they have that right, and I know my God sits on a Mercy Seat, it will be their teachers that are twice judged, not the folks riding along.
Would it be terrible of me to ask, “your Best Wagon Now” to go first in case of quicksand, cliffs or hostiles? Tell him it is a position of honor and give him a ten minute head start. See Joe, everybody has a purpose in the Wagon Train, even Joel! [ forgive me, it is a wicked thought, but fun!]

Comment by willohroots

I tend to be less concerned about having one denomination or everyone believing the exact same thing. For better or worse, (probably worse), there are some areas that we are always going to disagree on (like is it really okay to wear jeans in church). And probably won’t be able to settle until after we die.

That said, what bothers me more is when different churches won’t work together. Do we really need Catholic, Protestant, Nondenominational charities that do the same thing? Can’t we find a way to work together? We’re all serving the poor, the unloved, the broken hearted the [insert your favorite ministry here].

To me this seems like a place the Enemy would exploit.

Comment by e. barrett

You just gave me the best idea!

Comment by Shawn W

Radical, Revolutionary and Different!
We can share the road, but when you get into sharing money, well that just ain’t gonna fly! The redundancy and wasteful expenditure , especially in administrative overhead, yeah you are right, but that is really radical. When my outfit plants a church, they do not even meet with other clergy in the area, a practice that seems an oversight, as well as down right rude. Imagine what great health care you could provide for clergy if there was one common insurer.
The other side of the coin, I would wish for all denominations to get on board and do SOMETHING to make a difference and show the love of a Savior.
It would be hard for the Enemy to exploit your cooperative attitude.

Comment by willohroots

Comment by willohroots

my wagon was burned to cinders by occupants of the baptist general wagon of texas. been walking ever since…

Comment by graceshaker

Grace shaker, here are some options, grab a horse and ride along with us as a scout, i think Texas Rob will be doing that, or just jump in the back of Dayspring’s wagon, we could use a resident poet-writer to journal the trip, and I have no doubt you are my brother in the Lord.
First order of business at the next camp fire, NO Wagon Burning Allowed! I thought flaming arrows came from the Enemy, not the family!
As long as you were not badly burned in the process, the trip could actually be enjoyable!

Comment by willohroots

Some analogies get done to death. This one, however, could get done to life. I’ll hitch my rainbow wagon to this train any day.

And graceshaker, if you get tired of Willis’ company (I know, not likely) you’re more than welcome to join my band of misfits.

The peace of Christ to you, brother Willis, and to us all.

Comment by Rev Andy Little

graceshaker, I don’t know how close you are, but if you ever want to check out a Baptist church that’s making a difference, you’re welcome to visit mine.
After being burned several times I’ve found a soft place to land and heal.

Comment by Shawn W


I’m ready for those beans!

We do have beer, but…we are not to abuse it for we must be prepared to fight off those attackers and defend our fellow travelers!

I’m syrely happy to be going there with you and the rest of our brothers and sisters in the wagontrain.

Good job, my friend.

Comment by theoldadam

My ancestors in the Mayflower almost turned back you know, they ran out of beer! I trust you to be moderate, Lutherans have the worst hangovers, the guilt magnifies the pain!

Comment by willohroots

what happens to a wagon train that doesnt heed it scouts? or worse – has scouts who never leave the wagons?

Comment by graceshaker

In your about yourself you said that you are conservative, which is where I place myself. I have been “pulled aside” by some Christians for criticising other Christians; I do accept that there are many who are saved who may not belong to the same denomination as myself (Baptist). But how do we explain all the texts in the Bible that take us to the job of discernment, should we be compromising or staying together for the sake of the unity?

I have few friends that are Catholics and I don’t have a problem in believing that they are saved, they seam to hold to all the necessary elements of the “Roman Road to salvation” Romans 3:23 Romans 6:23 etc. And believe that through Jesus alone can we be saved. However I could not help but point out at many issues that exist in their Church.

I think as Christian we are advised to be on the guard but at the same time I also accept as Jesus puts it Weed will grow together with the good seed and only at the end will they be separated.

So I would suggest that we should continue calling our brothers and sisters back to God and his word, and that we will have to continue to do our best to preserve that which we have received as Apostle Paul puts it.

So Ephesians 4:15 seams to be appropriate text for me here. “Speak the truth in Love”.

Kind regards

Defend the word

Comment by defendtheword

Well said, Thanks for the comment. I think we share some common thoughts. Is it me, or do people who agree with us seem very intelligent? [ and humble!] :}

Comment by willohroots

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