(Today’s post by Marc Cannon)
I’m going to reemphasize few things from Wayne’s blog yesterday. Colossians is a great book! It’s an important book and gives us yet another look inside Paul steering the church towards abiding in Christ and knowing who He is, as well as learning sound biblical doctrine so that we may not lead those around us astray, as well as ourselves.
There are billions of people on this planet. Which means there are billions of personalities, points of view, beliefs and all of those are shaped by the people around them. On this planet there are 1.2 billion Catholics and anywhere from 800 million to 1 billion protestant Christians. Give or take 1 or 2. In just a little research I found a stunning statistic: Depending on what source you draw from there are 30,000-53,000 different protestant denominations practicing “Christianity” today. I knew there were thousands, but I was WAY off with my number of about 7K.
So which one/ones are “right”? That is certainly an impossible question to answer for a mere man. I tend to think the nondenominational church body I worship and commune with is right. Biblically sound, loving, giving, and nonjudgmental. I mean I’d go to war for my church family! I know a lot of people who feel the same way about the church where they worship. So how did we get all these denominations? Just as I’ve mentioned above, with billions of people on this planet, we get billions of flaws. You add the influence of Satan into that mix and we land at thousands and thousands of doctrinal differences. Some are small and some are vast.
Sadly, there are doctrines that teach biblical falsehoods and some that are just Christian by label. This is one of the reasons people look at Christians as hypocrites. Because there are so many points of view we don’t operate in unity with the Church…Christ’s Church. We could talk for days about the differences and try and tackle who is right and who is wrong, but I think what’s important here is that we grasp Paul’s sentiment and how he’s leading believers.
We typically, and we’ve all done it & do it, look at other churches differently. We get so focused on what songs are played, what type of seating we have, can we have electric-made music, jeans vs. suit and tie, communion every week or only at Easter and Christmas, can I drink or not drink, whether it’s a sin or not to break-dance….I mean it’s really mind-numbing the differences we give into.
What stands out to me in this portion of Scripture is the encouragement Paul gives believers. He gives them the key to the truth, and that’s to abide in Christ and serve Him joyfully. He encourages the Church by committing to pray for them, even those he doesn’t know and those that he’s not with. He does this lovingly and with no malice, like we take part in at times. He’s encouraging Unity by encouraging those to walk joyfully with Jesus. I think when believers break out of the walls of their house of worship and begin to see the church as Christ’s Church, lives are changed, disciples are made, revival comes and the Kingdom draws closer to this earth.
Instead of looking at other churches differently, I encourage each of you to pray for the different churches in your community and the unification of The Church. Write a hand written letter to another local church’s pastor, and let them know you’re praying for them and for our communities to come together unified to reach the world. Take some time out to specifically pray for your communities as well as The Church, because there are no denominational strongholds on Christ’s Church.