Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chapter 6: U.N.I.T.Y

       I grew up in Clinton, NC and in my early teenage years came to know Christ at Clinton PH Church. At that church I had many friends that were very talented. There were many bands at that church and one of those bands was called Combat Junkies. The Combat Junkies were an awesome christian punk band and had a song called U.N.I.T.Y. The chorus of this song went like this: UNITY, united we stand. UNITY divided we fall. Most people might not know the band or the song but it is a great song and what I thought about for this chapter. Unity in the body of Christ is a subject very close to my heart and something that we fail at so much. We make God look really bad on this subject almost more than any other. The world hears us preach love and unity but rarely sees either from us, especially toward each other.
       In this first part of this chapter I am going to take a little different spin than what you may think. I want to first affirm that it is okay to have different views as long as we do not allow ourselves to cross the line into heresy. Also I think it is fine to have different denominations and different ways to worship. We first must rid ourselves of the thoughts that to have unity we must all do the same things and be the same way. If that were true then we would just be one thing and not many parts in one body. I want to quote Ravi Zacharias again, "Unity does not mean uniformity".
       So, what exactly am I going to talk about with unity? Well, I want to talk about how we can be different without the need to seem like we have it completely right or without attacking anyone else. When I read the new testament I see many parts of a whole. The new testament highlights certain things by certain authors and because of this there is a wonderful rainbow of truths written that make up the whole truth. I am not saying that any of the new testament is not true but what I am pointing out is that where one book may focus on some specific subject another book completes it by talking on a different, but equally important, subject. For example, when Paul talks about how it is by grace through faith, not our works, that we are saved(Ephesians 2:8-9) and then James comes along to say that yes it is through faith alone but if you have no works than your faith is dead(James 2:17). Wonderful truth given to us by two different men of God inspired by the Holy Spirit. Aw yes the Holy Spirit, the one who led the writers to write the new testament, works in this manner; taking many people and making one body.

       So, what does all of this boil down to? We need each other! We need each other's differences. We need each other's common ground. We make God look bad when we can not embrace each other in our differences and make God look good when we do. In my early 20's I use to think it would have been a good idea to just do away with denominations but now I look at it as something that is somewhat of a good thing, as long as no one takes the name of a denomination over the name of Christ. Unity and love is simply all of us excepting our differences and using that to our advantage. I look at the body of Christ sorta like a marriage in this manner. In a marriage you have two different people completing each other not competing against each other. If the body of Christ started acting in this manner we would be able to unite in ways that we have not done in a long time. Where one church in a given area may be good at one thing and another church may be good at another thing they can complete each other if they work together. I do not want to go too far with that because that is the subject of the next chapter.
       The main point I want to get across in this chapter is that unity does not mean that we all just try to be the same thing. Instead, unity is when we embrace the differences to become one body. No one would cut off their left hand because they are right handed nor would anyone cut out their eyes because they are weak. We must stop cutting on each other and do what we would do if one part of our own body was weak and that is to cover it so that it would become strong again. We are many parts of one whole and because of that we must act as such. Covering those who are weak and celebrating those who are strong, never elevating one over the other. Just imagine if the world saw a church that looked like that? Would that take some of the excuses away from people who say they will not go to church? We can and must become the body of Christ talked about in the Bible.
       Finally, I want to say that no where in the new testament do I see where one church looked down on another and if they did I am pretty sure that Paul, or whoever, would have rebuked them for that. As a matter of fact I can think of a story where that actually happened. (Galatians 2:11-21) See, it is okay to be different, as long as the differences are not sin or heresy, and we must stop killing each other over styles of music, preaching types, bible versions, etc. We must get back to the core of things and love one another as Christ loves us. When I think about all of this stuff the statement, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", comes to mind. We all have but one enemy and that is the devil. So if he is your and my enemy, when we become enemies of each other, who then do we align ourselves with? 
       UNITY, united we stand. UNITY, divided we fall. Let that sink in one more time and ask yourself: Who is my enemy? What am I doing to unite the body of Christ? If unity is not uniformity then how can I help my brothers and sisters that are of different denominations than I? What would it truly look like if we treated the body of Christ the way we treat our own body? 

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