Jesus prayed that we will be one as He and His Father are one. This is the often quoted Scripture for our cry for unity in the Body of Christ. However, oneness is often lost in the concept of sameness. If the Godhead is our example, we do not need to sacrifice distinct identity to obtain unity.
I’ve heard it argued that Catholicism provided unity that has since been lost in post Reformation Christianity. The idea that there was once one Church and not many churches with competing identities is a reality worth returning to for many believers. Delving into history, I find we have lost sight of the tragic costs of maintaining one Church. Heretics, who were defined as any person or group of people diverting from the established doctrine of the Church, were burned at the stake or run through with a sword or imprisoned. In eleven centuries of Christendom this was not always the reality, Continue reading The Quest for Unity
I Corinthians 5: 9-12
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”
This passage provides two great points for discussion. The first is that there is a distinction between those who are joined to the church and those who are of this world. In order to “expel” there must be a physical group from which this “wicked person” is no longer granted admittance. This expelling includes that he is no longer to be associated with as a member of this community or welcomed to sup at the table with this community. The person is not expelled by believers from being a believer, but expelled from the church, a local community of joined believers. Continue reading Thoughts on Church and Judging Believers v. Unbelievers
The exodus of Christians from church has become epidemic. There have always been Christians who, for whatever reason, never joined church, but this is something different. This exodus is comprised of long time faithful church members who are now giving up on church. I’ve read the Relevant Magazine articles and the ex-church bloggers who recount all the reasons that church, or “organized religion”, detracts from their relationship with Jesus. These writers post their 95 theses of the failures of the church on the virtual wall and walk away.
I’ve heard a litany of reasons. The list is usually different with a few similarities emerging as writers on the subject have provided the language that justifies the trend. The language is catching on. I read a blogger today describe “the organized Christian Church.” He didn’t describe any church I’ve ever been a part of. He also threw in a complaint about mega-churches for good measure. The blogger had real dissatisfaction with what his church experience offered. I’ve heard many frustrated people both in and out of the church give their reasons why church is no longer for them.
I can give a Scriptural argument for remaining joined to the church via a local body of believers, but it won’t help. I’ve even heard people say these arguments are just how pastors keep people trapped in church.
There are two things I can offer to the subject. Continue reading The Exodus of the Faithful