That We May All Be One

With so many denominations in Christianity and each one insisting they have it right in more areas than any other denomination, how are we to choose who to believe?

Is Christianity really THAT difficult to understand? It's no wonder so many people reject it. The whole "we're right and they're wrong" angle is absolutely confusing to most people. Except the ones who think they're on the 'right' angle, oh wait..that would be most of you. That's right... you're all right? If you're all correct then why do you all insist everyone else except your denomination, is wrong? Someone once asked me why there were so many variations of Baptist churches and all I could think to tell him was, "They can't agree". 

But let's not narrow it down to just the Baptists. There are a variety of Pentecostal denominations, as well as Reformed, that have differences. A friend of my daughter's said that she was going to a church in an office complex. This church was right next door to another one. Their churches were divided by a single wall and during worship, the girl could hear the next church's music. They were singing the same song. So why the wall?

Some church's feel strongly about evangelism by door knocking, while others believe it's by serving the people in the community. A paper tract and invite to church versus loving their neighbor by action. The paper tract church insisting they are the only ones in town who 'win souls the right way', while the other insisting they shouldn't be pushy, but rather be an example to the community.
Then there's the debates about the End Times, judgment, and the afterlife. In all my studies I have come to one conclusion that I know I can stand firmly on. My salvation is not contingent upon my understanding of the English translations per the handing down of our religious forefather's interpretations right after they left the Catholic Church.

Have you ever noticed when a person leaves a church they were in for a great length of time? Ever notice how their theology is a bit mixed with what they are discovering, while they retain some teachings from their former church? If you have ever studied the writings of some historical figures, you can see how their beliefs began to evolve over the years. Even Billy Graham's beliefs have evolved over the years.

Who do we think we are to be so arrogant to think we know it all, the closest to the Bible, and the best interpretations? The answer is simple, arrogance. Arrogance will plant us right smack in the middle of thinking we have finally arrived at some biblical knowledge utopia and create ourselves our own little ownership of interpretations.

The next rite of passage is to write out what we believe as if to create some teachings for others to follow. People will begin to come with intrigue to discover what we believe and why. Some might agree and some might question us. Some may even question with such severe inquisition that you feel persecuted and belittled.

I have had the pleasure of studying for two years with some incredibly intelligent theologians from all over the world. I am fascinated with where they're 'coming from'. In all my studies, I continue to learn and grow and even though there are different interpretations I know WHOM I have believed and that, to me, is far more important than WHAT I believe. Although, I do feel that WHAT we believe shapes how we love one another.

Galatians 5: 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

It has wisely been said, "Know what you believe and why you believe it." But even better is that I know WHOM I believe and that He loves us all.

In all our quests for understanding the bible, may we do so in love for one another and may our discoveries lead us to loving God and others more and more.

John 17:20“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,23I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
heart in sand by lady_jess, on Pix-O-Sphere

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{ Sandra } at: February 2, 2011 at 12:44 PM said...

I think your answer to your friend's question might have been more accurate if you'd said "They can't agree to disagree." There is such a desperation for absolute certainty within protestant, especially evangelical, churches, such an overwhelming need to have the Right Answer to every question, to have every possible contingency spelled out on a doctrinal checklist, that not only does no one have to think for themselves but individuals are actively discouraged from thinking for themselves. Then when someone DOES start thinking and finds some question that wasn't answered, the first doctrinal checklist must therefore be Wrong and a whole new church/denomination must be started with this new twist on the Right Answer. And so it goes on...

{ Sisterlisa } at: February 2, 2011 at 3:24 PM said...

hahah good point...they can't agree to disagree.. you're right! And it is among denominations. Even among those who say they're non-denominational..they're really not. In their non-denomination..they really do have their own checklists too. Don't we all? I mean.. I have some things I feel firm in holding to as truth. I think what is interesting is to see how a person's beliefs lead them to love others.

{ Sandra } at: February 2, 2011 at 4:05 PM said...

"...what is interesting is to see how a person's beliefs lead them to love others"

Precisely. No other religion in the world demands adherence to a doctrinal statement as the membership policy. Not even all Christianities--only Evangelical Protestantism. Everyone else, Christian or otherwise, is about what you do--not "works-based salvation" as such behavior is taught to Evangelicals but rather an acknowledgement that only the lovejoypeacepatienceetc is what matters.

Without love, all the doctrinal statements in the world are just so many clanging cymbals. Any doctrinal statement that produces lovejoypeace, that extends love and grace to every human being, is a statement of Truth, even if the words themselves contradict someone else's statement.

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