Written by John Teal, April 24, 2021

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19

One of the incredible blessings of my involvement in Common Grounds Unity has been a rich tapestry of friendships across the various streams of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. I have had the privilege of becoming friends with brothers and sisters who are serious thinkers and who have a heart for the prayer of Jesus – “that they may be one” (John 17:22).

As I listen to their voices, I am becoming a better disciple of Jesus. As I grow in my ability to practice James 1:19, I find myself better equipped to discern the Spirit’s intent as I read the Bible.

I like to think of myself as open-minded and unbiased. And yet, if I am honest, I come to God’s word, and His people, with some predetermined ideas, cultural contexts, and partiality to my way of interpreting the text. As a younger man, I engaged in monolog far more than dialog. I have heard it said, “Christians often use the Scripture to end a conversation, but Jews use the Scripture to begin a conversation.” I know this is a gross generalization, but it was certainly true about me.

May we have the courage to listen well, even to those who challenge our way of thinking. We may find great blessing and a fuller understanding of the Spirit’s intent as we read Scripture.

One of those new friends is Matt Dabbs of Wineskins. His voice has been a blessing to me. Matt is an incredibly talented teacher of God’s word. Moreover, Wineskins has posted volumes of quality written content and YouTube Videos. The below video from Matt Dabbs has some incredible insights. In this video, Matt discusses how “Legalism and Progressive Christianity Have a Lot in Common.” He says, “legalists and progressives have a tendency, as human beings, to read the Bible the way we like it. It's just that legalists and progressives are selecting different things that they like.” He goes on to say that when we do so we create “a canon within a canon.” In other words, a Bible within the Bible. Polarization takes place when we are not “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). I hope you enjoy the below YouTube video from Matt Dabbs.

Click here to play.

John Teal serves on the Board of Directors of Common Grounds Unity. John and Danna live in Simi Valley, CA with their two daughters Michelle and Jessica. John has a B.S. in Biblical Studies from Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Missouri.