Here are the remainder of the quotes from Love Covers, which I think significant enough to reproduce here. I personally believe the quotes in bold print are especially relevant. Those of you who like to pick things apart doctrinally will probably find some good fuel for your fire here. There are a few points here and there in what is written below that I myself do not agree with 100%. However, I think that the gist of what is being said is important enough, that we all need to seriously reflect on it, and see how we as individuals, as well as Southern Baptists (excuse me, non-SBC readers), measure up...
"Since all born-again people are members of the Body of Christ, God extends fellowship to them regardless of their position on doctrines not necessary or directly related to the conversion experience. Since this is true, do we have the right to refuse fellowship to other believers when God Himself extends fellowship to them? In doing this, aren’t we in danger of diminishing or breaking fellowship with God Himself?"
"It is clear that God fellowships with people on opposite sides of various disputed doctrines. This suggests that, in God’s book, fellowship should be on the basis of life rather than doctrine."
"No amount of grace will ever enable all born-again people to agree on what formulated doctrinal system constitutes absolute conceptual truth."
"While the Word is inerrant, no one’s opinion of a moot or debatable point is."
"The greatest sin of the Church is not lying, stealing, drunkenness, adultery—not even murder—but the sin of disunity."
"Perhaps the most atrocious damage of disunity is displayed on the foreign mission field. When missions and missionaries, all claiming to represent Jesus and the gospel, manifest antagonism and hostility to one another, Satan alone is the winner. When inquirers and newly converted believers discover that professed followers of Jesus are fragmented, envious, and even belligerent in spirit, they are often totally devastated. To see the Body of Christ rent by proselytism, greed and jealousy is to them incomprehensible, inexplicable, and even unspeakable. It leaves the national believer totally confused, disillusioned and undone. Perhaps nothing brings greater grief to the heart of the Master than the disgrace of disunity on the mission field."
"Therefore, nothing short of heresy or open sin, which affects relationship with the Father, should be permitted to bring schism in the professed Body of Christ."
"If we understand the Word of God, schism and broken fellowship over incidental doctrines are not only sins, but heinous sins."
"Since disunity in the Body probably sends more people to hell than open sin, breaking fellowship over differences in those standards or practices which are not actually necessary to salvation is a greater sin than the supposed error which precipitated the breach."
"Dr. Packer sees an antimony in the doctrines of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. He suggests that both are biblical and that both should be accepted and believed. Although apparently irreconcilable, neither should be allowed to obscure or overshadow the other. If I understand Dr. Packer, he suggests that where the Bible supports the Calvinistic viewpoint, it should be accepted. Where it supports the Arminian viewpoint, it should also be accepted. It is not man’s responsibility to harmonize these apparent opposites. It is God’s."
"Much of the difference between Calvinists and Arminians seems purely semantic. Someone has said that Calvinists call their mistakes sins while Arminians call all of their sins mistakes."
"Since fellowship should be on the basis of life rather than doctrinal correctness, then shouldn’t Calvinists and Arminians bury their theological hatchets?"
"The widespread rejection of the doctrine that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the ‘baptism’ or filling with the Holy Spirit is explainable. But open hostility is not excusable, because it is the direct result of imperfect love."
"Most denominations and congregations carry a lot of cultural baggage, in worship, work and witness, which needs to be challenged."
"I’m not suggesting that fellowship requires Charismatics and non-Charismatics to worship in the same communion or officially cooperate under the same ecclesiatical umbrella. I am speaking of a spiritual and idealistic, not a formal, organizational ecumenism."
"While the great emphasis in Pentecostalism at large remains on the gift of tongues, a moderating trend seems evident in some significant circles. Without discounting the value of the gift, some highly respected leaders of the movement have abandoned the dogmatic position that the ‘baptism’ or filling with the Holy Spirit is limited to those who speak in tongues."
"Sometimes it is claimed that the exercise of the gift of tongues is divisive. We should understand that any issue that is controversial is potentially divisive unless it is ‘handled with love’. But it is not the issue itself that produces division. No controversial viewpoint is intrinsically divisive. All contoversy, discord, or division resides, not in the points of dissent or disagreement, but in the parties themselves. And where nonessentials are concerned, it is all because of a lack of love."
"Although those who do not speak in tongues lay the responsibility for division upon the zealousness of those who do, they themselves may also be responsible. Could it be that the hostility of anti-Charismatics may be as responsible for division as the overemphasis on tongues? Both probably share some blame."
"In God’s book, the important thing is not to settle controversial issues here and now, but while considering them, to grow in grace and in the supreme virtue of agape love."
"All theologians, administrators, and other spiritual leaders who persist in fragmentation of the Body of Christ over nonessentials may be risking the loss of eternal rank in a social order where the law of love is supreme. The question is, How are you going to explain at the judgment seat of Christ why you refused to offer fellowship to other born-again members of Christ’s Body?"
"For instance, a belief in the method or mode of water baptism is not generally considered as fundamental or indispensable to salvation."
"As a member of the same family, you are my own brother, whether you realize it or acknowledge it or not. As far as I am concerned, this is true whether you are a Charismatic or anti-Charismatic; whether you believe that everyone should speak in tongues or whether you believe that speaking in tongues is of the devil; whether you believe that the gifts of the Spirit are in operation in the Church today or whether you believe they ceased at the close of the Apostolic age; whether you are a Calvinist and believe in the ‘Five Points’ or whether you are an Arminian and believe that the ‘Five Points’ are heresy; whether you believe in eternal security or in falling from grace; whether you accept the ‘King James’ or prefer a modern version; whether you believe in baptismal regeneration or no ordinances at all; whether you are a Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Disciples of Christ, Church of Christ, Mennonite, Amish, Seventh Day Adventist, Episcopalian, Catholic…or no denomination at all; whether you believe in female or only male ordination; whether you think that Saturday is the true Sabbath and should be kept holy or whether you think that the day is indifferent; whether you eat meat or are a vegetarian; whether you drink coffee, tea and soft drinks or only water, fruit juices and milk; whether you wear a toupee or sport a bald head; whether you color your hair or not; whether you are a pre-, a post-, or an amillennialist; whether you are a Republican, Democrat or a Socialist; whether your skin is white, black, red, brown or yellow; and if there be any other doubtful matters or silly nonessentials over which we differ…if you are born again, we still are members of the same family and organic parts of the same spiritual Body. I may think some of your beliefs are as crazy as a loon, but if I have sufficient love for God, agape love, I will not reject you as a person."
"Correct doctrine, right views of conceptual truth, can never unite the Body of Christ because fallen minds can never be absolutely sure that their positions are infallible. ‘Now I know in part’ (1 Cor. 13.12). That means that error may dilute our concepts. Therefore the Church cannot unite on that platform."
"The person who does not speak in tongues but who excels in agape love will accept and fellowship with one who does speak in tongues. They are members of the same family. Sufficient love and reverence for God will unite them. The person who speaks in tongues and who also excels in agape love will accept and fellowship with one who doesn’t speak in tongues. They are also members of the same family. Sufficient love will cover their differences. Agape love is the only thing that will unite them."
"Also, agape love is the only guarantor of truth because it is the only guarantor of total objectivity, total honesty, total freedom from bias and prejudice. Agape love is the only thing that delivers from self-interest, self-centeredness and self-love. All or any of these are certain to corrupt, distort, and falsify all views of truth. For this reason, agape love and only agape love is a guarantor of truth. Scholarship is considered the means, the process, the technique by which truth is discovered, verified and communicated. But scholarship which ignores the importance, necessity and relevance of agape love is suspect, deficient and ineffectual. Therefore, agape love is an essential ingredient to genuine scholarship. I consider this one of the most important concepts in this book."
"Only nonessentials to salvation can divide the Body because the true Church agrees on all beliefs necessary to salvation. Without such essential beliefs, no group can qualify as part of the real Body of Christ. Therefore, all division in the true Church must be over non-essentials."
"What and where is the greatest hindrance to unity? Many feel it is not primarily among the laity, because in general they seem more open to efforts to foster fellowship. If this is true, could it be possible that the greatest obstacle to unity is among the clergy, the spiritual leaders of the church?"
"The illusion that congregations and denominations can be built and held together only by divisive methods must be forever abandoned. Ecclesiastical leaders, administrators, theologians, writers and propagandists, and all others with vested interest, must cease to aid, abet and sanctify division. Religio-political ambitions must not continue to overshadow spiritual values by fostering divisive policies. Success, gauged largely by growth in numbers and finance and rewarded by political and financial advancement, must yield to a larger vision of a united Body."