March 26, 2014.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
Today I was riding through Chattanooga and I came across a block of street that literally had five very large churches on it, right next to each other. Five. And that is not because we have so many Christians in the each church that we can’t house them in one, but because we have lost the unity of the body that once existed, long, long ago. And that breaks my heart. It really does.
In history we are going over the Protestant reformation. I’m starting to believe that the reformation was a necessary evil. Before you stone me, hear me out. The reformation was very necessary because the teachings of the Catholic church had drifted so far from the words of Christ that it was unrecognizable. Doctrine is important. However, I say that it was evil in a sense because it destroyed any hope of unity of the body. If there was one thing that the Catholic church had right, the doctrine of complete unity would be it. But the with the reformation, unity was lost. Look at us now, nearly 500 years removed. The body is shattered.
Why? Why must it be this way? Paul said “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Most of the things we split over are not even doctrinal. I can’t explain how much of a burden this has put on my heart. I’m afraid our biases run so deep that even if we had a clear reading of scripture and took it for what it said, we would not accept it because of our previous dispositions. Which gives me a very cynical and hopeless outlook, devoid of any help.
But I know that Christ can do all things. I know his power resides within us. How hard would it be to change? How hard would it be to take the Holy book, read it and simply follow what it says, without any outside input? Very hard. But I believe we can do it. I believe that this is the only way we will once again reach unity. Well, this and a good understanding of the love of the family.
One of the passages in the suggested reading today will be Romans 14. In this chapter, Paul talks about how we should treat one another and how to settle any differences we have that are based on opinion and not scripture. If you don’t read the rest of the suggested reading, please read this chapter. I believe it holds the key to Christian unity. I cannot encourage you enough to read it, and then try, even if it’s just a little at first, to apply it to your life and your fellow Christian brothers and sisters. Let’s stop dividing over petty issues. Let’s stop hating one another because of carpet color, or kids running in the back, or locations of church buildings. None of this is edification. None of it. That is not our job. Period. We are hear to save souls. That should be our main focus. Love God and love mankind. Everything else will fall into place (even the “important” stuff).
Suggested Daily Reading: Romans 14, I Corinthians 3, 8, Ephesians 4.
May the Lord be with us all.