the weblog of Alan Knox

Learning from One Another

Posted by on Oct 17, 2007 in community, discipleship, fellowship, unity | 9 comments

This is going to be a different kind of post than I usually publish. I believe that followers of Jesus Christ should be humble enough to learn from other followers of Jesus Christ, even if those others are “different”, with “different” beliefs and “different” practices.

I believe that Baptists should learn from Presbyterians who should learn from Methodists who should learn from Disciples of Christ who should learn from Anglicans who should learn from Nondenominationals, etc. I believe that Conservatives should learn from Liberals who should learn from Moderates, etc. I believe that Moderns should learn from Postmoderns who should learn from Premoderns who should learn from Post-postmoderns, etc. We should learn from those who are different from us but who are, nonetheless, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Therefore, I am going to ask you what you have learned from others. Here are the rules:

1. List only positive things that you have learned from other believers.

2. List only things you have learned from followers of Christ who are different from you (i.e. different denomination, philosophical worldview, hermeneutic, etc.).

3. List only positive things that you have learned (Yes, I meant to repeat this!).

Have you learned something from brothers and sisters in Christ who are different than you? Please share those with us.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 10-17-2007

    I’ll start:

    From my more reformed brothers and sisters, I’ve learned more about trusting God’s providence and protection.

    From my more emerging/emergent brothers and sisters, I’ve learned that I can hold to my convictions and still listen to others and learn from their perspectives.

    From my more missional brothers and sisters, I’ve learned that mission should happen every day.

    From my more liberal brothers and sisters, I’ve learned that the gospel can be proclaimed with hands and feet and food and water.

    From my more covenental brothers and sisters, I’ve learned that God keeps his promises.

    From my more charsimatic brothers and sisters, I’ve learned to wait for the Holy Spirit.

    From my more catholic brothers and sisters, I’ve learned that their is one church.


  2. 10-17-2007

    Some Anglican friends really taught me about loving and affirming everyone – finding the positive that a person brings to the table and affirming them in it. (Kind of like what you are doing here!)

    Some brothers and sisters from Europe, Asia and Africa taught me that God isn’t American. (Sounds funny, and I don’t like to admit it, but there was a tendency to think like that). Maybe that’s neutral, but I think it’s positive – because it’s truth. And it helped me to discard a distortion of God that I held.

    My Canadian brothers and sisters taught me that it is more important to be sensitive to how I’m making others feel than it is to uphold my right to declare my opinion. They taught me to prefer others before myself.

    (Great idea for a post! I really look forward to the other responses!)

  3. 10-17-2007


    I am a mut. I have served and worked in many different denominations and have served with ultra conservatives and extreme liberals.

    In each place, I have learned something different and have added it to my life and my walk.

    I will have to “de-compartilize” to share what I hav learned from each.

  4. 10-18-2007

    Jeff expressed very well where I’m at, too.

    I’ve spent time in a wide variety of denominations during my lifetime, and so it’s hard to say what I’ve learned from people who are different from me because I ended up identifying with them while I was learning many of those things.

    I would love to share, but just have trouble figuring out where those lines are drawn.

    Having said that, I have to say, Alan, that I think this is one of the most wonderful posts I have ever come across. This is exactly the type of question that should be asked.

    The emphasis on positive interaction between various streams of experience and doctrine is so vitally important to the unity of the body that I’ve been trying to write about lately.

    Instead of us always trying to figure out how to make the lines between us stronger and more definite, we should be looking to learn humbly from one another.

    Thank you for modeling that, my brother. It blessed me greatly to read this.

  5. 10-18-2007

    the other day i went to a more charismatic gathering. it was great. the dude preached an amazing message about love and relationships and how he is a construction worker and has been a part of God’s work in some of the meanest guys’ lives just by loving them and getting to know them. that message, while not an exegesis of any particular passage, had more of an impact on me then anything i have heard in a long time.

    another thing i like about the charismatics is that they aren’t afraid to expect God to work. that has really been a struggle of mine lately.

    pretty sweet idea on the post man.

  6. 10-18-2007

    Charismatics: abandonment of self to God
    Reformed: God’s sovereignty
    Catholic: obedience
    Nondenom: acceptance of all in the body
    Anabaptists: simplicity
    Southern Baptists: Most of them I met while I was doing prison ministry 😉

  7. 10-18-2007

    Great idea for a post…

    From my methodist family and friends I’ve learned that reaching out to people who are typical church people is what Jesus would do, even if those people aren’t yet believers.

    From my Anglican brothers, I learned that God DOESN’T hate fags.

    From my emerging brothers I learned that reaching out to the community and those in need means more than just praying for them.

  8. 10-18-2007

    my first lesson learned should say “people who aren’t”, not “people who are”

  9. 10-18-2007


    I have had great fellowship with many who are saved by grace, through faith, in most denominations.

    A pastor from a denomination different from which I belonged to,offered the greatest expression of Christian love, in a time of great spiritual need.

    As a evangelical pastor myself, I felt keenly, the artificial divide which denominations love to engineer between the so-called “laity” and “clergy”.

    I have learned that any approach to relationships must have the very human, subjective aspect measured by objective Biblical truth and fruit.

    I have learned, often the hard way, that, it is very easy, especially when I was young, to be naively idealistic in expecting that because someone attended “church” and called themselves “Christian”, and was very “nice”, didn’t mean they were truly brothers/sisters.

    I learned that Satan really does come as an “angel of light”.

    I learned that it is very easy for the baby to be thrown out with the bathwater (majoring on minors), negating great opportunities to grow into relationships.

    I learned that the Family to which I belong is as diverse and marvelous as every other part of our Father’s creative work.

    From that Family I’m still learning, and understanding that KNOWING is the reverse of what we think. We Christians KNOW everything when we are young, gradually KNOWING less and less until, at my age, I KNOW very little.

    I guess that means, in a few years, I will KNOW NOTHING! Just think of the learning from my brethren I will have to look forward to then!


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