The Church - Part 5 (Final)

"Unity in the church will only occur when we are Heaven." This attitude is prevalent among most Christians, but I think it shows a lack of faith. Jesus prayed not that we would be one in Heaven since that is already a reality, no, He prayed that we would be one on this Earth.
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me (John 17:20-21).
One of the barriers to unity in the Church may be that we don't even know what unity means. Does it mean that we will all meet in the same geographical region? Does it mean that we will have the same doctrine? Does it mean that we will all be identical? I don't have the answers to these questions but I know it needs to start somewhere. Most churches are experts in division but they know nothing of reconciliation. It is obvious that we are blind to reconciliation because there is hardly any evidence that churches do that kind of thing.  In parts 2 to 4 of this blog post I attempted to outline certain attitudes and doctrines that need to be considered for unity in the church to begin:

1. Just like marriages, churches should never divorce (divide) unless one of the sides has shown that they are dead in Christ.

2. God is not concerned with ecclesiastical correctness but with hearts that are righteous. Singing certain song, wearing specific clothes, and doing things a particular way are not at the heart of faith in Christ and should be treated accordingly. Jesus has broken down the wall of hostility and it is time for Christians to say, "tear down this wall."

3. There is only one Church and we are individually part of it. All churches need to understand that they are an expression of the one body and not a special part of it.

Churches who think that division is not an option will work out their differences. There will be intense disagreement but that is expected and will make for a stronger church in the end. A marriage that cannot withstand differences will end in divorce. The Church should be the best at handling differences since we have the power of God at work in us. Understanding that not everything is of life and death importance will allow Christians to work through differences. Many Christians fail to recognize that many of the things that they do are not really Biblical but simply the traditions of their forefathers. This is not to say that everything should be accepted but there should be an ability to distinguish that the unity of the Church is more important than a particular way of doing things. Last but not least, there is only one Church and therefore every "true" Christian is a part of it. There is no church that is greater than another. Was there a disciple that was greater than another disciple?

If these three principles where thought about and applied in each of our lives and churches, I think it would go a long way towards reconciliation and being a light to the world of the glory of God. If anybody thinks it is impossible for unity to occur in the Church, let me remind you that, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." We are not the leader of the Church, He is!


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