My latest article for the Orange County Record
The pie of Christianity has been cut, sliced and served a myriad of different ways. Since the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century and subsequent reformations, the Church has become splintered. Every week millions of Christians flock to their respective congregations and faith communities, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Methodist, Presbyterian (USA), Presbyterian Church of America, Baptist, Southern Baptist, Northern Baptist, Catholic, Church of Christ, Orthodox, Episcopal and “non-denominational” churches… do you see where I am going here?
Too often doctrinal differences have separated followers of Christ even to the point where some denominations do not do certain practices in worship because it is too much like “those people.”
How can the Church have a unified voice proclaiming the love that is found within God and Christ if we cannot stand the sight of each other?
We believe that our way of worship is the “right” way and others are not. We believe our values, principles and doctrines are more Bible based than others. We believe we have perfected the way the church should and ought to be and everyone should emulate us. We sit back in our sanctuaries and proclaim that if Christ himself were to walk in, he would be satisfied.
Aren’t we all serving the same God, the same Christ, answering the same call to serve the world? If so, then why are we allowing things to separate us?
The Church for far too long has waged an internal war…who can have the best, most unique ministry? Who can get the most people in church? Who can have the best youth program? Who can serve the most meals? Why has the conversation shifted from the love of God to fighting battles that for the most part are quite pointless and completely miss the point of what the church could be?
Between the denominations it has become us against them, Protestants against Catholics, young against old, King James Version readers against The Message readers, old gospel hymn singers against more “contemporary” song singers, and on and on and on. Because of this ecumenical dialogue has dropped to a level that is almost non-existent.
Somewhere the Church lost its way. Is this the church Christ advocated for and wanted? I seriously doubt it… don’t you?
I know that even when the church was “one” there was still dissention and quarreling and sadly it has not stopped. I understand that people like their particular way of worshiping and theology but can we at least try to see eye to eye on something? More than likely, the followers of Christ would agree that the world outside our windows is full of pain, hurt and disgust. People are living on the streets; children go to bed hungry at night while others are beaten by those who are supposed to love them. No matter your Christology, theology of sin or salvation, ALL followers of Christ can agree that something has to be done. Coming together around the common theme of hope, joy, peace and reconciliation is the foundation of the ministry of Jesus Christ, the one that Christians are to follow.
I doubt that the church will ever be unified in every facet of theology and doctrine ever, but one thing is for certain. There is a lot of work to be done and there are few workers. If churches banded together, pooled resources, skill sets and passions, imagine what could be done, not just here in Orange, but around the world. We all have something to share, let us work with each other, together under the banner of love in Christ.
No one has a monopoly on God, let’s stop acting like it.