NOTE: This is a post for Christians only. I want to deal with an issue we seem to face every day, yet no one wants to admit the elephant is in the room.
I’m sitting here on what most Christians claim as the Lord’s Day. I’ve just come from a worship service where God Most High was present, so you’d think I’d have peace like a river dwelling in my soul.
I’m disquieted intellectually by something I don’t understand. We all call ourselves by the Name of Precious Jesus, yet we can’t seem to let each other live peaceably if we don’t agree on the slightest jot or tittle.
I am tired of all the denominational in-fighting and petty bickering. You might be Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, or whatever. That doesn’t mean that your denomination is the only way that Jesus will save His people or that your denomination is the only way to serve God.
We seem to want to let doctrinal differences pull us away from what Christ calls true religion: caring for the widows and orphans, loving God with all we are and can ever be, and loving our neighbor as lavishly we would love ourselves.
As I see it, the whole denominational thing boils down to what I understand as a writer. Every word in the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit and written by men to specific audiences undergoing a given set of circumstances. It is Truth and worthy of all our attention.
However, centuries later, we’ve lost the context and sense of audience. We’re trying to suck every bit of marrow of meaning out of those precious Words of Life while we miss surrounding information. We’re trying to decide whether the language was figurative or literal. Again, that is something you can’t do without context and sense of audience.
And then, it’s a question of how do you want to worship on a weekly basis. Do you need a steady, stable format? Do you like to rock the house down with loud, exuberant praise and worship? Do you need some blend of the two?
So, if the non-denominational nurse on the next block decides to convert to Latin Rite Catholicism, I don’t care. If the Lutheran cousin wants to go Assemblies of God, I don’t care. If the Episcopalian housewife feels she needs to go Methodist for unity in her marriage, I don’t care.
What I do care about is whether you are living your lives in such a way that the Gospel is preached wordlessly through your actions. Do you have the respect of all–neopagan, Hindu, Muslim, Jew–because you’ve lived a quiet life, worked your job honestly, and tried to be peaceful and interested and caring? Have you lived in such a way that no one could discredit your walking testimony and they would fail if they tried?
It’s time to stop fighting over denominational differences. It’s time to pick up the Cross and starting working out our salvation with fear and trembling by winning the respect of outsiders through love and loyalty and peace and service without watering down doctrine and losing the ability to identify and deal with sin properly.
*steps off soapbox*
We now return you to your regular, rant-free blogosphere…
PS: My still, small Voice just gave me reading assignments. Please pass anything by Corrie ten Boom my way; also send me anything written by those growing up in Northern Ireland. Thanks!