“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15: 5-7
Unity is extremely important to God. So in turn it should be very important to us also. A lot of “Churches” talk about unity and give it lip service, but I find that very few actually practice it very well. I hear tons of talk about being inclusive, but find that most “Churches” tend to be exclusive and ready to divide quickly over a multitude of issues. Some “Churches” even have Creeds and other tests for fellowship. Most will keep people out of fellowship over differences in doctrine.
In over 35 years of fellowshipping in homes, I have never been part of a housechurch with a test for fellowship other than a desire to meet with us and seek Christ together. Because of this we have had nonbelievers become believers. And those who held tightly to non- Jesus like beliefs weeded themselves out in a very short period of time.
I will meet with anybody willing to dialogue concerning the faith. And in a totally open and free Spirit led meeting where everyone shares it is nearly impossible to hide any real personal heresies for very long. Most folks who have fellowshipped with us over the years usually grow out of their problem theologies in time. When all things are open and mutual things just have a really neat supernatural way of working themselves out for the benefit of all involved. That at least is my experience and hope.
Sure there are times when believers need to separate because of MAJOR differences in theology and practice that can’t be worked out over time, but I believe that separation should be the extremely rare exception, rather than the rule. When separation becomes necessary it is almost always over who Jesus really is and what He accomplished in His life, crucifixion and resurrection. We should not be dividing over petty doctrines, social status, money, age, race, color, musical style or the color of the freaking carpet. Believe it or not? It does happen!
God desires that all of His children be of one heart, mouth and mind. Because such grand unity brings Him great glory. We need to accept one another as Christ accepted us. To my knowledge none of us showed up on the scene the very first time with all of our sin and theology in perfect submission to God. So I hope to never judge a new believer without giving them much grace and time to become more Christlike. Scratch that; I mean that I never want to judge ANYONE who is on God’s chosen path for them. Timing is important, but totally up to God and NOT us.
In closing Jesus said it best when He prayed to the Father, “May they be brought into complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” ( John 17: 23)
“Complete unity”? I think we still have a ways to go before we get there in this life. All it really takes is a total realization and appropriate response to the fact that we are already actually ONE IN CHRIST. In spite of this great Truth many still choose to divide rather than unite and that is just a damn shame.
Love and …….
Kirk Out !