In my post of last Saturday, July 25, I mentioned how I had witnessed unity within the church in France like I have never witnessed anywhere else. How that unity was achieved and has been kept alive, I’m not certain. One person told me that it is because the church is not large in numbers. I did speak with more declared atheists in Paris and London than I ever have in my whole life. It definitely is a post-modern culture there. Much more than I run across in NYC, and anywhere else in this country that I frequent. Perhaps this is a factor.
I believe that if the apostles were present today, or Jesus Himself, the church of today would not be recognizable to them. Paul, in his epistles, wrote 7 verses speaking of church unity to every one he wrote on justification by faith. This should speak volumes to us!! Justification by faith is very important, it is a major doctrine no doubt; but if Paul spent so much time on Christian unity, why does the church care so little about it??
There are hundreds of denominations here in the United States that have reproduced themselves all over the world. Most are so suspicious of one another and won’t even talk to one another. What a superior thought of oneself and a tragedy it is!! This is not to say that the early church had no disunity. In Romans Paul told the house churches there to get to know one another and not to be suspicious of one another.
” May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:5-7 (ESV)
It’s because of this disunity that the world doesn’t take us very seriously. When speaking with the many people that I do, church disunity, and all the differences, is a major drawback for them to not even want to consider Christianity. True Christian churches should have one central message, which is the Gospel. The Gospel is our unifying message and is what should bring us together. Not the way that a person is baptized, or the different views of Communion, or when and how Jesus is coming again, etc.
As I stated earlier, Paul spoke of unity within the church more than he spoke of justification by faith. He knew it was difficult, and so must we. Let’s do something about it!!!
Shalom until next time, Lord willing,