Christianity is littered with various groups splintering off to start their "own" church. Generally, most of these splits do not happen as a result of one group denouncing the Gospel of Jesus Christ although that can happen. Usually the breach occurs over other doctrinal issues. I know all about splits. The denomination in which I was torn apart in 1923 with both denominations using the identical name for about 30 years. Families and friends were torn apart. The history of splits within those two "new" denominations continued. One touched my own family leaving a breach so deep that a few people were never reconciled. I am glad that in the case of my own immediate family, we never forgot that we loved one another and despite the "split", healing took place.
Some suggest that in order for unity to take place, everyone must agree on 100% of everything, 100% of the time. I have been thinking about that and I disagree. Did the early church always agree on everything? No, they did not. We know this to be true. They argued about whether Gentiles should practice Judaism or whether or not the Gospel should even be taken to the Gentiles. They argued about circumcision. They argued about food. They argued about who it was better to be baptized by and whose ministry you associated yourself with. Does any of this sound familiar? It should!
Over the years, I have made friends with a number of people here at CB. Some of them belong to the same denomination as I do but most do not. Does this mean we cannot walk together in unity? Well, I've been walking together with some of them for nearly five years. I've even gotten together with some of them outside of CB and though we may not always see eye-to-eye on every little thing, we agree on what is most important.
We agree that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. (Romans 6:23) If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all righteousness. (1 John 1:12) Why? Because God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who offered Himself up as a sacrifice for the sins of the world that we all might be saved. (John 3:16) We believe that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13) and he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5). On these things we agree and walk together in unity through Christ Jesus.
In his letter to Titus, Paul wrote:
If it seems that wherever we go amongst God's people, division and argument seems to follow, then we need to step back and take a good hard look at ourselves. Division is not of God, folks and if you are always the person doing the dividing then something is terribly wrong.
awesome and timely,
I have heard this quote and have tried to follow the lead of this wisdom of yester year
In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.
and you are so right K, many have debated as Iron sharpening Iron ...but it must always be out of love and a passion for a singular pursuit..that JESUS be glorified, and not our own argument or desire to be right
Dear K - First of all great post. I see it like how sometimes we reserve our harshest words for those that are closest to us. How many times have I said something to my own flesh and blood that I would never say to anyone on the street? Their "errors" drive us crazy because we love them... or we want to control them. I have shared fellowship with Independent Separatist Baptists, non-denominational Christians, Pentecostals, Catholics and others. It is very delicate navigating these waters because we would rather fight and debate... instead of unite and heal.
The enemy gives us plenty to stand against instead of standing against ourselves. We are One Body.
p.s. Sorry I've been absent as of late K. Busy with good things though. Bless you!
I am shouting a big AMEN
Well stated and well written K thank you!
You are such a blessing!
Of coarse all depends on what level of unity is considered having unity.
If no debates or differences are allowed, then there will be unity only in the ones that totally agree, but if the level of unity that is desired allows for debates and even some heated debates to get to the answers or truth being debated, then this is probably the best level of unity. This level of unity can have respect for each other, but also work at finding the real answers to certain issues.
The first church did not have complete unity, mainly because of the differences between the Jews (old) ways and the new ways of Christ. That all had to be worked out. Back then, there were times when it seemed there was no unity, but through the debating and bringing the issues to God and having the Holy Spirit guide them, they were brought to agreements and unity. Sometimes complete unity or political correctness is not what is needed or best, but sometimes a good debate is what is needed to work these things out - as long as the Holy Spirit is within those debates.
If unity is the goal, than debates are squelched and some truths may never be realized.
There is a time for everything.
thank you for your blog. i remind myself when i die there will be no seperate heaven or"the other place based on "differences' and "how well i elbowed or stuck out my leg to trip someone for a better place in line lol be blessed. how i loved and treated others matters more..
Loved that last line. Casting stones, bickering all so not godly. I watched once as a church was almost destroyed. It survived and is doing well now. Did you ever read The Screwtape letters? Every Christian should read it.
Thanks for the blog.
Good blog. Your final sentence, "Division is not of God, folks and if you are always the person doing the dividing then something is terribly wrong." should be a banner on the wall wherever people gather to talk. - bibleguy64
Ddn't Chuck Swindoll write many years ago that Christians typicall shoot their wounded? That is certainly true. I have run into countless people who will have nothing to do with Christianity because of the Christians. And the really sad part is, all of them are convinced that THEY are following God and those they are opposing have left Him! Good blog, K!