What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true, and in that I rejoice.
Can it be that we have something to learn from Paul’s posture on the matter of right teaching? At this time of deep polarization and power positioning I believe the answer to be yes. Much of what we affirm in the American “Protestant” Church was passed on to us from our spiritual forefathers the Reformers who were protesting the claim by the Church at their time that grace is conveyed through and by the Church alone. When you couple that with our American independent freedoms and pursuit of personal happiness we passionately stand up for our “right” to say that our interpretation is accurate and that the rest of you can go to hell.
Please do not read me as encouraging a more tolerant universalist or pantheistic approach to faith. I do not read Paul as saying all expressions of religious belief lead to the one source.
Here is what I believe Paul is saying, “I know that there are some who say ‘God is love’ all the while they constantly try to discredit me, back stab me, and imprison me. there are some who profess ‘Jesus is Lord’ while they limb over the top of one another to receive the highest seat of authority on earth at the expense of their sisters and brothers. I detest these practices, but I rejoice that even in their depravity Christ is proclaimed and I trust the Holy Spirit to use that for the hearts who are dying for hope.”
We should not tolerate abusive practices within the family of faith, but we should also rejoice when Christ in the midst of the brokenness is lifted up.