Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Can I find unity without agreement on essentials?

I have a serious question to consider.

I recognize it as the same serious question that all denominations have grappled with:

Can I be united with others that do not place high value on the essentials of the Christian faith?

I believe this question is at the heart of every division in Christ's church. The problem is that the people on each side of the issues have a different set of essential beliefs.

My problem is that I believe Christian unity is one of the essentials of our faith, and I'm not sure most (if any) denominations are placing a high value on this core scriptural belief.

Can I be a member of any denominational 'church' which places greater value on details that divide Christ's Church, and less value on unity of Christ's whole church? By being 'one' with them, am I being true to what I believe is an essential value of the Christian faith?

It seems ironic that this issue of unity could bring my unity with a local 'church' into question.

Logically I see a big problem.

However in faith, life and practice I can answer "Yes".

I do recognize Christ alive in many denominations - despite some wrong thinking. I recognize the fruits of the Spirit and a love for Jesus, and that is enough for me to trust they are my brother's and sisters in Christ. I recognize who they belong to by the lives they live and the passion for Christ that they display - not just by their theology.

So yes, even though we disagree with issues I believe are essential, I must recognize their sincere love of the same Christ I love. And I need to respond to disagreements with love.

I pray for humility and grace as we work together as one body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:2-5 (NIV)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

2 comments:

Gary Delaney said...

Jonothan,

Point well made. Unity is important, but so is patient love. We as christians need to always prefer those who are of the household of faith.

Blessings,
Gary

Jonathan said...

Thanks Gary for the comments. This is something I'm struggling with. I need to show love despite disagreements. Usually easier said than done. I pray the the spirit that dwells with us will do His work, and our selfish desire to battle each other will diminish.

Thanks, God bless!