Denominations are characterized by their specific doctrines. As much as we want to get away from denominationalism and embrace unity, the fact is, we by default will still have our views on doctrinal issues. And doctrines are not necessarily bad – GOOD doctrine is TRUTH. So I think the key is, as someone once told me, unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials.
But it’s not that we give up our doctrines. We should just always seek to align our beliefs more with the truth, and be willing to let the Father show us more truth. And sometimes yes, we can admit something is just *our opinion*, although our opinions can be guided by a good foundation of morality – found in the Torah (Law of Moses) as well as the rest of the scriptures.
Thus, more and more it seems to me the foundation of good doctrine is drawing the line between good and evil – and pursuing righteousness. If we are doing that, we are on good ground. But if we retain doctrines that are obsessed with God receiving and loving whatever lawless person that comes along, I think we would do well to take another look at the true God of scripture. Yes, Paul’s scriptures focus on the transition of a bad person to a saved person – and that by the means of GRACE and FAITH – true. But the goal is always righteousness. Nevertheless, the Father’s heart can indeed be tender, rejoicing when a prodigal son comes home. But we should not forget the words of Yeshua – ‘enter the narrow way’, ‘keep the commandments’, ‘depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’.
Yeshua (Jesus) was a righteous rabbi, and when you can examine his words – he masterfully embodied BOTH loving the sinner YET standing for righteousness!
To conclude, let us leave behind denominational prejudices and embrace any who have contrite hearts and are seeking righteousness, all the while seeking more truth, and seeking to unify on the essentials. And of course, extend the Father’s heart to the wayward while knowing that the Father is the master of Mercy and of Justice – the perfect Father and the perfect Judge – and we await His perfect Mercy and perfect Justice to be revealed – saving or damning as He sees fit. Not to say that governments cannot seek to exercise perfect Mercy and Justice RIGHT NOW as well, being ministers of God, as the scripture says in Romans. And so, Amein. And Shalom to all those seeking the Father.