07 May 2005

True Unity in the Church

I hate slogans. Someone said that a slogan is a replacement for thought. Some slogans especially drive me nuts. "Can't we Christians just get along?" is one we sometimes hear. That is to say, why can't all the followers of Jesus focus on what we agree on instead of paying too much attention to our disagreements. The problem is that we we Christians do have real differences, we have real disagreements. And many of these disagreements are not minor, "denominational" or human made differences.
Among the doctrines that people who call themselves Christian have disagreements about include: Is God the Trinity, what is the authority of the Bible, whether Jesus is the One Savior of the world, what is the mission of the Church, whether one is saved by faith or works? And the list goes on. I am not going to try to resolve the problems, but I will say that it is important that we deal with the disagreements in a direct and honest way.
Too often the response is to find a way that both "sides" can agree without having to admit that they are wrong. This is like a married couple who have arguments but can't agree about what the problem actually is. This ensures that the problem will never be resolved. Listen to Jesus,

John 17:21 GW I pray that all of these people continue to have unity in the
way that you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they may be united
with us so that the world will believe that you have sent me.
The unity that we Christians share must be the unity of the Father and the Son. United in love, united in truth, united in the Word of God. Our unity must be for the sake of reaching the world for Christ, for planting churches in every culture and society, for the sake of changing lives by the power of the Gospel. Notice what I have just done, these last two sentences will make some people unhappy. In this post-modern world I have the nerve to assert that there is truth and that the truth must be held, must be proclaimed and taken to the unbelieving world. But that this the truth held by the Father and the Son in the Word of God.
What should we Christians do? We need to hold each other accountable. Yes, you need to hold your fellow Christians accountable to keeping the Word of God. Yes, you need to hold your Pastor accountable for the doctrinal promises he made to your congregation. Yes, you yourself need to be accountable for your growth and obedience to the Word of God. We are called to be disciples of Jesus Christ. We are not volunteers. See Jesus' reaction to volunteers in Luke 9:57-62!
Luke 9:57-62 GW As they were walking along the road, a man said to Jesus,
"I'll follow you wherever you go." (58) Jesus told him, "Foxes have holes, and
birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to sleep." (59) He told another
man, "Follow me!" But the man said, "Sir, first let me go to bury my father."
(60) But Jesus told him, "Let the dead bury their own dead. You must go
everywhere and tell about the kingdom of God." (61) Another said, "I'll follow
you, sir, but first let me tell my family goodbye." (62) Jesus said to him,
"Whoever starts to plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God."
We are called to follow! This is no game, but it is the way of life that leads to eternal life.
Doc Steve

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