In the next section of Francis Schaeffer’s book, The Mark of the Christian, Schaffer moves to a fifth way the church can show a practicing and observable love to the world “without sharing in our brother’s mistake” (p. 30). It is what he calls, “The Difference of Differences.”
THE DIFFERENCE OF DIFFERENCES
The point here is that Christians must practice fidelity to the biblical doctrine, and that there should be no place for compromise in issues of pure doctrine or life. But, the Christian must also practice observable love to a watching world with those they differ with within the church, those who may have lost that "purity"; indeed, there must still be “oneness” among all true Christians, even when there s error and when we differ on important matters. Moreover, the world must see that oneness above the differences.
When differences are approached this way, the world will see “an observable love in the midst of difference will show a difference between Christians' differences and other men's differences” (p. 30).
Key statements from this section (p. 30-31):
Before a watching world an observable love in the midst of difference will show a difference between Christians' differences and other men's differences.
The world may not understand what the Christians are disagreeing about, but they will very quickly understand the difference of our differences from the world's differences if they see us having our differences in an open and observable love on a practical level.
As a matter of fact, we have a greater possibility of showing what Jesus is speaking about here in the midst of our differences, than we do if we are not differing. . . . When we come to the place where there is a real difference and we exhibit uncompromised principles but at the same time observable love, then there is something that the world can see, something they can use to judge that these really are Christians, and that Jesus has indeed been sent by the Father.
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3 John 8