Recently, I have been seeing a growing trend of Christians not being able to get along with each other. This is not something new, but it seems to be coming back on a more prevalent level. In all honesty, this is something that has been happening since the Church was founded on the day of Pentecost. The problem is that we cannot truly follow our call to be the Church if we are not unified. Unity is essential in God’s plan for us. How else are we going to be able to complete “The Great Commission” found at the end of the book of Matthew?
Unity is something that I have always strived for in my relationship with Christ. All the bad-mouthing and in-fighting that we see among Christians does nothing to really help the cause of Christ. In fact, it hinders it greatly. Again, I know this is really nothing new, but it seems to be growing a very fast rate. And it needs to stop. I am not trying to single anyone out in this. Most of us have been guilty of this at some point in our lives. Some of us struggle with this on a daily basis. Even though I am not singling anyone out, I think it is important to show some examples of what I am talking about.
A few weeks ago, there was a church conference, Strange Fire, held in California. Strange Fire became very controversial, especially toward the end of the conference. In fact, if the conference wasn’t officially trending on Twitter, I would be very surprised. During the last night of the conference, my Twitter Feed was absolutely full of tweets, both supporting and denouncing the conference. I had not heard of the conference before that night, but it did not take a lot of effort to find out the basis and general teaching of this conference. It was a conference based around John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship. From what I could find, this basically boiled down to one group of Christians that think the gifts of the Holy Spirit like speaking in tongues ended with the death of the apostles calling another group of Christians that believe those gifts still exist false believers. I’m not going to get into what I believe about those gifts here, but I don’t see the benefit of calling another Christian out because they believe something different from you, and it doesn’t really seem to be a salvation issue.
On Facebook, I am a member of a few different groups, mainly revolving around the Christian Church/Church of Christ churches. The Restoration Movement is what I have always been a part of, and it really seems to me that it is designed around unity. In one of those groups, however, there was a gentleman that on a daily basis would pose scenarios that were based on half-truths, and then he would go on to pose a question. These questions, for the most part, were basically attacks on todays Church and/or ministers that invest their time trying to lead others to Christ. When others would post answers to his questions that were anything against his idea, he would become very defensive and state that he wasn’t interested in going back-and-forth with the person that was making a point against him. It was almost as if he were just trying to start controversy and division. (He has since either removed himself from the group, or the admins removed him).
These are just two examples that I have seen, and I know that there are many more that I could reference. I think that gives us a good place to start, however, and I don’t want to get bogged down on the problem without looking to Scripture for the solution. In my last post I wrote about Ephesians, and I briefly touched on the subject of unity. Well God continued to rock my world tonight as I read Philippians. Paul has a lot of mind-blowing things to say in this very short letter. One of the many topics I found tonight, and a huge chunk of the letter, deals with unity in the body of Christ. Philippians 2:1-19 speaks to unity and why we are to have unity. You can go to http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=philippians%202:1-19&version=NASB if you wish to read the text. He also has a lot to tell us about unity in Philippians 3:20-4:2. It reads, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord.” We are to be unified under Christ, because we as Christians all have the same fate awaiting us. Our citizenship is of another place, and that should unify us all under Him.
I know there will always be debates and disagreements. That’s natural, and not necessarily a negative thing. They become negative when it causes Christians to state that other Christians are not really Christians. And it becomes a huge problem when our fighting causes non-believers to be turned off to God. We should be living in such a way that we are drawing outsiders in, not driving them away. Christ died and was raised from the dead for all. How dare we drive some away, simply because we don’t know how to get along with each other and show God’s love through our interactions with one another.