• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
Thinking Out Loud

A Case Study in Mutual Forbearance

by User Not Found | Aug 09, 2011
This blog post was written by Jonathan Yarboro.

The Rev. Jonathan Yarboro has served as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Wetumpka, Alabama, since graduating from Louisville Seminary in 2006.

The Form of Government section of the Book of Order of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), old and new versions, features a powerful term: mutual forbearance. The actual citation reads:

“…we also believe that there are truths and forms with respect to which [people] of good characters and principles may differ. And in all these we think it the duty both of private Christians and societies to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other” (G-1.0305 or F-3.0105).

This historic principle of church order is rooted in the understanding that unity is best exercised in diversity. Scripture clearly supports this understanding, but Western culture often does not. Examples of mutual forbearance do not make good headlines. As a matter of fact, I would argue that anyone wishing to define mutual forbearance in contemporary media would be hard pressed to find resource material. Much of today’s media paints a very different picture of how we live in relationship with others.

Some scholars have highlighted the significance of mutual forbearance in living one’s faith. All of my seminary professors in some way embodied what I have come to appreciate as one of the key elements of a faithful Church. Still, even religious headlines, especially within the Presbyterian denomination, underscore the difficulty human beings have in fully embracing the concept. How can we as “the church” begin to live in to what Scripture clearly calls us to do: to treat one another with respect and dignity, especially in the face of theological difference?

Since 2006, I have served as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Wetumpka, Alabama. This congregation of 160 members is nestled in the beautiful Coosa River basin of Central Alabama, the buckle of the Bible belt! First Church is a middle class congregation and has been, for the most part, since its founding in 1836. For 175 years, believers willing to call themselves Presbyterians have gathered here to worship, work, and witness. The history of this congregation is fascinating and multi-faceted. Allow me to share one crucial piece of it with you.

Over the years, each time a potentially divisive decision has been placed before this congregation, someone in the church has stood, just before the vote, and proclaimed in some manner, “No matter how this vote turns out, we will not split. If we split, we die.” Consider, briefly, the implications of this statement.

Each time this statement has been shared, it has come from a different person. At times, it has come from an Elder, but not always. It has never come from the same person twice, and never from the pastor. What this says to me is that the main reason First Presbyterian Church of Wetumpka continues as a thriving community of believers is its commitment to mutual forbearance. This congregation has persevered through civil wars, world wars, racial wars, denominational splits and unions, and more.

In his book, God’s Tapestry: Reading the Bible in a World of Religious Diversity, Gene March, A.B. Rhodes Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Louisville Seminary, explains why this principle is so hard to embody. He says the stakes are higher the more common our ground becomes. [1] In other words, we may find it easier to practice mutual forbearance with those in other churches than we do within our own. Recent tensions over changes in Presbyterian church polity certainly support this notion, but they do not have to.

Perhaps we should look for guidance from the faith communities that have weathered the storms of living together as the people of God. What would we find? I am willing to bet we would find expressions of deep faith and piety, great joy and intense pain, and humility above all else. Sounds like mutual forbearance and a productive excursion of faith to me. How about you?

___________________

[1] W. Eugene March, God’s Tapestry: Reading the Bible in a World of Religious Diversity (Louisville, Westminster John Knox, 2009) 103.

2 comments

Leave a comment
  1. Angela Albert | Sep 28, 2016
    With Loans for Bad Credit without Guarantor arranged by Loan Tube, you have a dependable option that will tackle all your monetary problems. I applied for it and the end results were fantastic. A good alternative for those who are interested to enhance the credit score.
  2. lkh | Sep 16, 2016

    adidas site officiel

    adidas sneakers

    official NHL jerseys

    hyperdunk 2014

    zapatillas nike baratas

    nike chaussures

    nfl store

    adidas tienda online

    zapatos nike free run

    moncler outlet

    adidas kläder

    ray ban wayfarer eyeglasses

    michael kors handbags on sale

    saucony scarpe

    Toms Outlet Online

    ugg outlet online

    Adidas schuhe

    23 is back

    burberry sac pas cher

    tienda online abercrombie españa

    new balance femme

    nike mercurial soccer cleats

    burberry schal

    chaussures de foot pas cher

    adidas schuhe neu

    new pandora charms

    Ray ban sale online

    Air Jordan Release Date

    prada outlet

    chaussure basket homme

    pandora jewelry store

    scarpe nike

    Korting sportschoenen

    scarpe nike air max

    outlet scarpe new balance

    timberland outlet

    louboutin heels

    adidas store

    nike tn pas cher

    sac a main michael kors

    Nike Online Store

    fitflops sale uk

    womens nike air max

    Cheap Michael Kors

    Soccer Boots Outlet nike

    nike air schuhe herren

    Canada Goose Outlet

    goedkope nike air max

    polo ralph lauren pas cher

    Jordan Schoenen

    uggs for cheap

    new balance sportschuhe

    bambas adidas baratas

    pandora charm bracelet sale

    michael kors bags outlet

    uggs outlet

    coach sac à main

    abercrombie and fitch store

    Timberland skor

    Nike Air Jordan 11

    zapatos de futbol nike

    nike air max 90 rea

    asics sko

    nike joggesko

    ropa abercrombie

    christian louboutin outlet

    cheap nike air max

    sac coach soldes

    toms shoes outlet

    ugg factory outlet

    outlet zapatos online

    discount ray bans

    Toms Shoes For Women

    air max pas cher femme

    cheap christian louboutin

    Moncler Outlet Online

    pandora beads

    air jordan pas cher homme

    sac givenchy

    oakley outlet

    tru religion jeans

    ray ban sale

    billige nike sko

    cheap uggs for women

    charms pandora pas cher

    Billig Nike

    scarpe running new balance

    scarpe adidas donna

    Nuove scarpe nike

    newest lebron shoes

    Ray Ban Outlet

    air force one pas cher

    scarpe nike running

    moncler jacket sale

    chaussure new balance femme

    abercrombie deutschland

    Moncler Sale

    Air Jordan News

    ugg boots classic

    scarpe hogan outlet

    botas de futbol

    nike sportschuhe damen

    Miu Miu bags online

    michael kors väska rea

    cheap uggs

    ugg boots for women

    balenciaga borse

    nike air max running shoes

    scarpe adidas online

    nike damenschuhe

    outlet prada online

    converse store

    mulberry väskor rea

    nike jordan shoes

    chaussure adidas pas cher

    vans shoe store

    Nike Zapatos

    moncler girls

    Nike Store

    nike sportschuhe

    Chaussure Nike Pas Cher

    adidas outlet stores online

    nike schuhe günstig

    portafoglio michael kors

    Jordan Store

    Air Max 90

    nike air

    nike sb stefan janoski

    Ugg boots Sale

    new yeezy shoes

    retro jordans for cheap

    chaussure Nike homme

    longchamp kaufen

    ugg boots outlet online

    nike free

    moncler coats for women

    adidas schoenen

    Jordan Sneakers For Sale

    fendi pas cher

    cheap mbt shoes sale

    Billiga Nike Air Max

    oakley sunglasses clearance

    chaussures nike pas cher

    fitflop online kopen

    chaussure Nike femme

    ugg clearance

    nike shoes

    ugg store

    sandalias birkenstock

    religion store

    cheap air max outlet

    burberry sac pas cher

    pandora bracelet charms

    adidas shoenen

    nike skor outlet

    zapatilla adidas

    zapatillas running

    huarache sneakers

    adidas outlet

    coach factory outlet online

    Uomo Hogan

    Coach Bags On Sale

    scarpe jordan

    new jordan releases

    Lebron 13

    reebok running shoes

    new balance sito ufficiale

    New Balance Outlet

    nike sneakers

    lkh 9.17

    Leave a comment

    • 1044 Alta Vista Road |
    • Louisville, KY 40205 |
    • 800.264.1839 |
    • Fax: 502.895.1096 |
    • Site Map
    © Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary