“For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body — so also is Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12 (HCSB)
This is inspired by a great friend who gave a message on this same subject yesterday. We talked about this at work and since then I have had it on my mind.
We are one. No, that is no longer accurate. We should be one. The body of Christ has been dismembered — by itself. And now we lie in shambles, still bickering over centuries old disagreements. I am of course talking about denominations. The very fact that when you tell someone that you are a Christian, the follow-up question of “What kind?” always comes next, and fills me with more than a little bit of disgust.
We are no longer known for our unity. We are known for our inability to worship the same God without squabbling like children. Worse, we have made ourselves impotent to doing the great work set before us as the body of Christ. Oh sure, sometimes we can work together and love each other, but we are still not one. It is as though the fingers which have been severed from the hand are willing to work together with it; it is impossible for them to be as effective detached as they were when they were one.
We don’t all need to agree on anything further than the foundational principles of Christianity. We can disagree and still be one. The arm does not need to be a leg; the elbow, a knee; the wrist, an ankle. We can be different and be one body. Indeed, the body is effective because there are different members that work in unison. The foot, ankle, knee, and hip must all work together. If there was a foot where the ankle, knee, and hip are, we wouldn’t be able to walk correctly.
And yet this is precisely what we have done. We have split apart and tried to assume body-hood as individual parts. How arrogant of the shoulder to say that it is a body in and of itself!
Further than that, denominations have made us lazy. They tell us what to believe and we accept their terms and conditions. We are told to check what is taught against the Word, but I seriously doubt such an effort is made regarding denominational beliefs. We have learned to accept what we are told and taught. And there is nothing more terrifying to me as a Christian.
I follow no denomination, no pastor, no church. All those things are fallible. God’s Word teaches us in perfection yet we cast it aside. After all, there is so much work in actually knowing why you believe what you believe. If we can just piggyback off of someone else’s faith, all the better. No need to think. No need to doubt the teaching. They are a “holy man”. No. We are responsible to God for our faith.
And we are responsible to our brothers and sisters to live as one despite our differences. Let us find unity in our love for God and each other and in the faith we live. Let us live as one, different, but one.