I know that those who read my last post are probably thinking that I am anti-fundamentalist. Allow me for a moment to address that issue. I will try to state this as clearly as I can, listen careful now, “I AM A FUNDAMENTALIST!” I am also a person who despises labels. Mostly because I realize that they are necessary and I didn’t come up with them. Oops! There goes that pride again!
Seriously though, I don’t want people out there thinking that I am some anti this or the other. What I was trying to express was concern. I am not against people, I am for them! It is out of concern and personal conviction by the Holy Spirit in my life that I was moved to speak.
I guess for me it just seems foolish that people, who claim to love the same Lord, cannot agree on how to worship HIM. Which brings me to today’s post. The topic of which is unity in the body of Christ.
I know that for some this topic seems to have been discussed to death and frankly should be left where the dead are, i.e. buried. However, I have to say that this topic is central to the state of Christianity at large. For decades now people have caused more damage to the cause of Christ by taking biblically unfounded dogmatic stands and pointing fingers to the point of it being nearly impossible for the world to see what Christ founded: the family of God.
Sure some might excuse this under the guise that every family has quarrels. But let’s be realistic. Spats are one thing, raging wars are another. (In the previous post I addressed what I saw as a key cause of this.) So, again, what is the solution? Well, I will be the first to admit that I do not have all the answers.
Shocking!? I know. But seriously, I often think of the quote, (I really wish I could remember where I heard this one!) “Conflict is inevitable, combat is optional!” I know we will not always agree with one another about the details, (I seldom agree with myself! :)) but fighting over some things makes no sense. Sometimes I want to scream out loud at church, “Fighting fundamentalist fought for something, not against one another!” And that is true, Fundamentalists fought in defense of the inspiration of Scripture, the virgin birth, in short, to defend the very essence of truth!
What is worthy of note is that these folks gathered from many denominations and a variety of places to stand TOGETHER for the truth. In doing this they formed a movement. This movement had a purpose. The movement also was able to move forward because of a unified front. These men knew what was important and they were willing to fight for it. They showed spiritual discernment that was evidenced by their uncompromising stand for truth. Today’s bickering shows an evident lack of discernment. The old axiom of divide and conquer is proving its veracity in that, as a divided and fractioned group, Fundamentalists have not done much for the Kingdom of God.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that there has not been progress, or that as a movement Fundamentalism is useless. What I am saying is that, compared to the numbers we have, our impact in this world has been relatively low. I know that this may seem like I am putting down the missionaries in the foreign fields and the diligent Pastors at home, but I am not. What I am saying is that by being fractured and divided we have not been helping them the way we should.
I know of missionaries who have been turned down for support by one church because another church with whom they disagree on a particular matter supports them. This is LUDICROUS!!! I know of Pastors who have diligently tried to make an impact in their communities but because the relationship between his church and the one across town is less than amicable the community wants no part of it. (Granted this is not always the current pastor’s fault.) I mean why would people want to be a part of a group that is going to be ridiculed by people that are supposedly on the same team.
All of the above statements lead me to one question. How do we present the world with a picture of what Christ said HIS church would look like? Not just locally but across this world. How do we show a united front? The answer is really quite simple: UNITY! But how can I even think of working with Pastor “A” when he allows his church to do “x”? Simple you don’t have to work WITH him, just don’t work AGAINST him! Can’t bring yourself to say anything nice? Then just be quiet. Most importantly, have you prayed that God would make Pastor “A” whom you disagree with as successful in the ministry he is in as you yourself want to be? Ouch! That one hit home for me! Let me say this bluntly but please do not mistake bluntness for harshness. God will never make your ministry prosper at the expense of another believer’s welfare.
One last thought, it is not about what I think but about what God thinks. What does HE want from us? I believe one thing HE desires from His children is unity.