My husband is conducting a study through the book of Revelation. It is fascinating to learn about the ancient Seven Churches that the Apostle John wrote to and what life was like for them and why the words in Revelation have so much more meaning when we understand that. You are going to give me a white stone with a new name on it? Um, okay, but I’d really like turquoise, I’m much more into color.
We can’t think like our culture today. At the time Revelation was written, a white stone had great significance. In a court of law, it was a representation of being acquitted in a case against you. A black stone meant you were guilty. So for Jesus to say He will give us a white stone – that means because of His love, grace and sacrifice, we are acquitted. Pretty cool.
But the very first church, Ephesus lost something. It had lost its first love. Jesus commends them for keeping their doctrine pure and not letting evil doers lead them astray, but they had lost their first love. They focused so much on keeping the doctrines pure, which pure doctrines are a good thing, but they forgot to be loving in the process. Later churches get in trouble for not keeping their doctrine pure, so this is an important issue, but it can’t be to the exclusion of love.
There are a lot of controversial issues in Christian churches today involving what can and cannot be done by individual members as well as who is and is not qualified to serve as a minister. As a Protestant, I do believe in Sola Scriptura, that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and it is the final say in all decisions regarding doctrine. As Christianity struggles through these controversial issues and many seek to keep doctrine pure, let us not go the route of Ephesus. Don’t let doctrinal purity exclude love.
After all, Jesus didn’t say disciples would know one another by their intense spiritual doctrines kept pure. He said they would know one another by their love for one another.