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:
But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love,- Titus 3:4-11 (NLT)
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.
He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”
This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.
Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.
If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them.
For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.
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.
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!
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..
I think if we followed God's "Love Plan" rather than the "Religious Rules" of man, we would find it easy to agree on all things.
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!