|Before writing my thoughts, I thought
I'd start this off with a command, an example, yea even a necessary
inference from our dear brother Paul: :)
For it is even necessary that there be differing schools of thought among you, so that the approved ones may also become apparent. 1 Cor 11:19 Non-Ecclesiastical New Testament
The best that can be said for it is that the testing process will bring truth into the open and confirm it. The Message
..so that those who are approved might become apparent among you The Christian Bible
So, now that I've covered the basis on whatever you think the writings of the Bible mean for us today :) ... let me add what I think is an application.
It is curious to me when I see sharp reactions to differences of opinions. It is as if just by listening to another's thoughts, we are feeling forced into agreement with them - and so we must react strongly to keep from it.
Jesus never judged anyone who questioned him. He tricked those who questioned with ulterior motives, but he appreciated the real seekers.
The strong reactions we see today to differences of opinion, that hope to protect the truth are no different than the total justification people in generations past have felt for the torture and murder of devout seekers. We look back in horror at the cruel, painful, degrading end that has been the fate of devoted saints. We shake our heads and wonder at what could have driven the angry powers-that-be to such heartless cruelty. But - the executioners were doing 'God's work.' They were helping Him by protecting 'the truth' from being diluted or questioned by these change agents, heretics.... the seekers.
The NT tells us that God views our
words/thoughts/motives and our actions as one in the same. When we are
confronted with someone who holds a different opinion, we have to be careful
that we don't "murder" one another with our attitudes.
If one is honest with themselves and if they are over 40, they have to admit that people from their past they were very much in DISagreement with they now have learned were right. What if God were reaching through the words of someone else? Jesus did say that he's there when we gather and that he is our teacher. What does that say about our shutting down anyone who speaks something that doesn't jive with our current understanding?