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Can There Be No Unity ???

02 Aug

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,

Levi

 
40 Comments

Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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40 responses to “Can There Be No Unity ???

  1. ajialynn

    August 2, 2015 at 10:49 am

    How was your time in France? Why do you think the atheist community is so prevalent there?

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Levi Thetford

      August 2, 2015 at 11:02 am

      My time in France was tremendous. I loved the French people very much. I think the reason Europe is even more post-modern than the U.S. Is because God has not been even a thought in many of these people’s lives. When they attend university they are taught that man is an end in himself and that to believe in something, or someone you can’t see is nuts. Of the many I spoke with, they had never heard the Gospel, and didn’t even know who Jesus was. They had only heard of Him.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  2. atimetoshare

    August 2, 2015 at 10:55 am

    So true, Levi. I see this in my own conservative, Bible teaching church. We often become so cloistered we forget the people we should be inviting in. We do have to be proactive.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Levi Thetford

      August 2, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Yes we must, Kathy. We don’t like people around that don’t think exactly like us. We must focus on what’s important.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  3. Elouise

    August 2, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Levi, I’m so happy to see this post! Not just because of the clear, straightforward content and plea, but because you wrote it and posted it which must mean I need to start checking in here more often! Thanks for the visit today–which alerted me to your presence. 🙂

    Just one additional comment: In my experience, local churches often have a better record on being welcoming and cooperative with others than do the denominations to which they often belong. There are some exceptions, but they aren’t mainline denominations. I think being aware of one’s local context and the urgency of being ‘out there’ is a gift for local churches willing to make the effort and take the risk. The key isn’t just the pastor, it’s the entire leadership team and history of the congregation. This is a tough issue. And as you say so aptly, it’s a hindrance to the gospel.

    So glad you were in France and gave us a first-hand report. Many thanks!

    Blessings,
    Elouise

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Levi Thetford

      August 2, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Thanks for the great comment Elouise. The main cooperation that I see where I am the most is among same type churches-denominations. It’s rare for them to fellowship in any way with others, much less work in tandem for the Gospel.

      I had a great trip to France and England. God showed me some wonderful things in those months while gone. Glad to talk to you!!!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  4. talkingtothelord

    August 2, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Hi Levi. This post is essential to the hope that unity will one day be feasible among Christians. I’ve attended several denominations’ services over the last couple of years and I can honestly say each one had a beauty all their own. Being raised Roman Catholic it was not easy to step out of the world I believed at one time to be the one true church and open my heart to others’ practices. But when I did my eyes were opened in a way I never thought would be…..my heart has filled to overflowing with love for each Christian house of worship I had the pleasure to attend. And not only because each one had a unique way of glorifying God, but because each one DID glorify God! That’s the main idea isn’t it? Are we not unified in that one simple, life changing belief? Does that not mean everything to each person in each building that hails itself as followers of Christ? Thanks for spurring such great thought today Levi. You have inspired me. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Levi Thetford

      August 2, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Hi Katie, you are spot on. Your experience has opened up something to you that many have never seen. To glorify God is the chief end of man. Now if we could get each working together instead of being on an exclusive mission what a difference it would make. Thanks for the great comment!!!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  5. davidkitz

    August 2, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Reblogged this on I love the Psalms and commented:

    Here are some insights on the need for Christian unity by Levi Thetford.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  6. Sue C.

    August 2, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    What you have reported is sad but true, unfortunately. I’m finding more and more people that are turning away. They are so fed up with the lack of actual true Bible teaching and so many churches have become more of a denominational clique or merely a social gathering. When people ask me what denomination I am, I smile and say, “Christian.” The expressions are priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  7. Levi Thetford

    August 2, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Sue, our churches are just like our politics, in my view. Fragmented and inflamed with anything but love. We as believers are to love one another. That doesn’t mean we agree on everything but we should be able to fellowship and work together for the Kingdom.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  8. Karen Pickering

    August 2, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    I think unity comes where there is persecution. When persecution comes here, and I believe it will, the churches will become smaller and closer. Just like a family that fights until one of its own is attacked. Then they all rally around. Persecution will also weed out the many who are Christians in name only. I think we will be surprised who is missing when we get to heaven. Some of the most “religious” will be nowhere to be seen. I appreciate your straight talking truth. You always give something to challenge me.

    Liked by 3 people

     
    • Levi Thetford

      August 2, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks Karen. Persecution is the seed of the church and will bring it closer I’m certain. I think Paul was instructing us to be unified in the midst of and without of persecution.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Karen Pickering

        August 2, 2015 at 7:24 pm

        You are right.

        Like

         
  9. K. Q. Duane

    August 2, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    How very very sad. You would think that Christians, of all people, would understand that “a house divided against itself, cannot stand.” Unity is of paramount importance today, when we are under attack, like at no other time in recent memory.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Levi Thetford

      August 3, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      I agree. Like no other time we MUST stand together for what is really important.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  10. wingedprisms

    August 3, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Excellent, truthful and so needed Levi! 😀
    cate b

    Liked by 1 person

     
  11. Susan Irene Fox

    August 3, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Levi, I wonder if the large number of atheists has a direct relation to the unity of the churches in France? Just curious. And you’re absolutely right, we need unity here. And Karen is right, too. But too many are far too comfortable in our own clothes and agendas to put ourselves aside and let Jesus shine through.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  12. Levi Thetford

    August 3, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Susan, I wouldn’t doubt that this may not have some affect. There are probably many factors that have influenced the unity in France. They don’t appear to wear the “religious garb” that we do in the States. It is so much different there. Pleasantly so!!!

    Like

     
  13. Ron Whited

    August 4, 2015 at 5:54 am

    Beautiful and profound post Levi,and one that the church should take to heart. The scriptures are filled with instructions for us to live in harmony and unity,yet we seem to be ensnared in this “my way is the right way”mentality. I’d say the church could use a good dose of humility and come back to the realization that it’s not OUR church-but His!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Levi Thetford

      August 4, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more Ron. Great to hear from you!!

      Like

       
  14. The True Light!

    August 5, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Are you back now from NY Levi? If so, I’ll be looking for your posts and invite you to stop by my site as you can. I know how busy you are my friend!

    Steve

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Levi Thetford

      August 5, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Steve. I’m back from my 2 month work in Europe and NY. God blessed in all places. I’ve done 2 or 3 posts but nothing regular. Thanks for coming by and chatting!!! Lord bless!

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • The True Light!

        August 6, 2015 at 12:17 pm

        Good to see you back and glad you had a good trip! Getting the word of the gospel out is our highest duty as Christians!

        Will be looking for some new posts from you, Levi!

        God love and keep you always,
        Steve

        Liked by 1 person

         
  15. savedbygrace

    August 5, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    i do agree. if we have the same doctrine (which is justification by faith and salvation by grace), then what is stopping us from fellow shipping with one another?

    i do tend to see the issue. some churches have mixed Faith and Works. they have set of moralities that are different from another church. thats where the boundary is drawn. if we can only go back to the root, no race or skin or color or culture matter except the Christ, then it will be a good time

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Levi Thetford

      August 5, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      What you said is what I believe. The smaller issues shouldn’t matter for fellowship if each believes in the true Gospel. Sadly, there are many that preach the true Gospel who and won’t venture outside of their circles because of non-essential practices. Thanks for your great comment.

      Like

       
  16. daylerogers

    August 6, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    This is becoming an increasingly obvious issue as folks label us as extremists because of political assumptions and yet ignore that what we’re about is our faith. I’ve found even the term “Christian” has people rolling their eyes, as if, “Oh, you’re one of them.” I tell folks I’m a Christ follower, which always makes people stop. Our lack of unity hurts the sharing of the gospel more than anything. I’m convinced we could stop all evangelistic outreaches if we consciously worked at being unified in the way we work and walk together, and people would come to faith. Just because real community is what all of us needs. Godly community. Thanks, Levi, for being such a bright light with your words and heart.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Levi Thetford

      August 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      I have experienced and agree with everything you’ve said. We must pray and work toward this unity. Thanks so much!!!

      Like

       
  17. Anna Waldherr

    August 9, 2015 at 3:10 am

    Though we have a shared creed, it seems to me Christians have great difficulty distinguishing between peripheral issues and essentials. I have heard Christians vilify one another over the timing of the Last Judgment!? Now is there anything over which we have less control, than that? Someone once said that God allowed the denominations to form because they would confuse Satan. Too bad they confuse the rest of us, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Levi Thetford

      August 9, 2015 at 10:00 am

      Exactly right, Anna. We Christians disagree over everything, even within our own denomination/groups and churches. I don’t think at all that God wants all of the denominations but He allows it and continues to work in spite of. If we would focus on loving Him and our neighbor all of this would be sorted out. Knowledge puffs up and there is a lot of so-called knowledge but little love.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  18. Phil Sewell

    August 12, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Good to have you home. Phil

    Liked by 1 person

     
  19. +2

    December 10, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Hey, Levi, hope all is well!

    Like

     
  20. Anthony Baker

    January 5, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Hello, Levi. I found your blog in a search for others of like mind, or at least in the same ball park as me. That alone should mean something, especially coming from a Southern Baptist pastor. I was not in a search for others of the Baptist persuasion, only those who proclaim Jesus as Christ (Messiah).

    My thoughts on this subject (and I do appreciate your post) are fairly simple, but not as pessimistic as some. I have no problem with denominations, for they are nothing more than a product of human nature. Should we all of a sudden declare that the Christian church would have no more of them, without a doubt there would be just as many cliques and clubs pop up in which those of like mind would associate. The problem is when we refuse to find ways to fellowship and show brotherly love with those who are truly followers of Jesus.

    Just last week I addressed the split between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark (Acts 15). Each one had good reasons to believe the way they did, and neither were really wrong – they just couldn’t see eye-to-eye. So, they split up. But was this a problem in the long run? No, because God was then able to use two groups instead of just one – and it didn’t catch God by surprise, anyway.

    Later, as you know, Paul and Mark eventually reconciled. In the end it was Mark who was one of the very few listed as “profitable” to him (2 Timothy 4:11). Nevertheless, it took time…and persecution…and hardship. As one of those commented earlier, just throw a little real persecution in the mix of the American church and I believe what you will see is a narrowing of the gaps between us.

    A friend of mine who is Pentecostal was a navigator on Air Force One for President Nixon. Speaking of denominational differences he told me that when he was in other places around the world, where hardly a true believer could be found, as long as a man claimed Jesus as Saviour that man was his brother; it didn’t matter if he spoke in tongues, or not. Essentially, when all we have is each other, denominational labels wont mean as much. In the end the prayer of Jesus in John 17 will be answered.

    For those who use denominational differences as a reason for not believing in Jesus Christ, well, most of the time, from my experience, that’s just a convenient excuse to justify their lack of desire to believe.

    God bless you, Levi.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Levi Thetford

      January 5, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      Anthony, I appreciate your lengthy reply. Your statement “The problem is when we refuse to find ways to fellowship and show brotherly love with those who are truly followers of Jesus” is my point exactly. It would not be possible to not have different denominations and groups I whole-heartedly agree. May God draw His people closer together.

      Happy New Years. Blessings!!!!

      Like

       

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