And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part. – Mark 9.38-40
It is amazing that the church gets anything done for God today. We seem to be better at dividing over every little issue than uniting over the major truths. We criticise each other because they are not following Jesus our way, just like the disciples did here. They sing different songs or they worship in a different style or they don’t focus on the same issues or they don’t act like us or have different standards than we do.
‘They aren’t doing it the way we do! They ought to stop and do it our way!’
Is that what Christ wants to hear?
No. Jesus answered and said ‘leave them alone. If they are not against us they are for us.’
Now I am not calling for compromise on the essentials. I am not saying that we can overlook false teaching. I am not implying that we have to sacrifice holiness for unity.
I will say however that it seems that we can be far too willing to want others to do things just the way that we want them. The things I have seen believers criticise each other over are shocking. The problem is that in our pride we think our way is the only way and that if anyone else is doing it differently they must be wrong or compromising, especially if they are seeing the results that we wish we could see.
Leave them alone. They may not do it the way I am, but if the gospel is preached I should be behind them. Look how far Paul took it in Philippians 1 –
‘Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.’