Have you ever noticed how many labels we have? I’m talking just in the Christian community, not even the world at large. To start off, we have all the denominations. From Baptists to Lutherans, Methodists to Presbyterians, we’ve split ourselves up in to so many sections its difficult to remember what they all mean. Then, we’ve got all the little beliefs that we split up over in the first place, categorized and labeled neatly to help us remember what they all mean. Are you a Calvinist or an Arminian? Are you a young-earther or an old earther? Are all foods clean, or just some? Do you prefer sprinkling or immersion in baptisms? How about music? Is it okay to have instruments in church? All of them, or no drums?
All these categories and beliefs that we separate ourselves into do just that… they separate. With each title we so proudly wear we stray just a little bit further from what the church truly is. Now, I don’t mean we can’t use names to describe what we believe. What I am trying to say is that we don’t need to place so much emphasis on those names, or push our brothers and sisters with slightly different opinions so far away for so little a difference.
You see, the true church isn’t any particular denomination or set of beliefs. It is a group of Christians living to the best of their ability in God’s love and grace. Do you remember the most important commandment, or the second?
“Jesus replied, ‘This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.'” – Mark 12:29-31
No other commandment is greater than those. Not your beliefs on baptism, or music, or preaching style, or whatever else we’ve divided over. No. The only beliefs we should care so much to divide over is whether we are living our lives according to these two commandments. We as a church are called to love the Lord our God with all of our heart and all our soul and all our mind and all of our strength. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. These are vitally important. All else is secondary.
But what if it’s on a bigger topic, like the Trinity, Christ’s divinity, or something like that? Obviously, these are important, but we need to study the Bible and grow in wisdom so we are able to discern what is and isn’t important. Not everything is so important to break fellowship within the Bride over it. We are God’s Bride, we are a community, a tribe. Let’s not break ourselves apart for anything less than who we are marrying.
Dar-rel, I adore you. Your godly perspective makes my heart smile! Thank you for sharing.
Theron St. John says
Darrel, I am grateful you finish off the article as you do. Because there are non-negotiables when it comes to the Christian faith. Yet, much of what Christians argue about divide over are not these primary matters but secondary matters. It is interesting that John 13 and 17 does not say the world will know we are Christ’s disciples and that He was sent by our being right; rather, they will know by our love for one another (13:34-35) as we grow in the truth of God’s Word (17:17-19). The evidence of this, then, should be unity, not division (again, John 17). We reflect the Father and Son’s relationship (as well as the Spirit) when we are in unity. Thank you for the reminder we need to be about witnessing to a watching world, not winning arguments.
Darrel Current says
Thank you for the encouragement and insightful Theron! I always appreciate your comments on here. Thank you!
Desiree Hardy says