Christians in every generation are called, as Jude put it, to "contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints." If we are not to fail in this calling, we must understand what contending for the faith looks like in our day and age. The mainstream cultural air we all breathe celebrates tolerance and pressures us to embrace perceived unity as the highest good. In this climate, any sort of division is seen as hateful and wrong. Yet to humbly explain and demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ to believer and unbeliever alike is the greatest kindness and the most loving act possible. The ultimate question about Jesus today is the same as when he walked the earth: is he or is he not who he claimed to be? He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). With the entire Christian faith standing or falling on the validity of such an utterly exclusive and uncompromising claim, doctrine that truly aligns with Jesus will cause division. When we represent our faith honestly, it is simply inevitable: at times we will be at odds with others -- friends, relatives, perhaps even other Christians. Yet we are called to contend, in obedience to and for the sake of the most divisive person in history. And the challenge is to do it in the way Jude describes: as an act of mercy toward those who doubt and those who have been deceived, regardless of whether they claim faith in Christ.
Author Aaron Armstrong is the author of Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty, and a writer for an international Christian ministry focused on caring for the needs of the poor. He is also an itinerant preacher and blogs at BloggingTheologically.com. He and his family worship and serve at Harvest Bible Chapel in London, Ontario.