Diversity Can Bring Unity, Not Division
In my May 13th blog I wrote, “After writing almost 300 blogs over the last few years about the Church from the perspective of the five fold not being “offices” by “church officials” but “passions” and “points of view” that drive believers in Jesus Christ, why wouldn’t the Church want to examine the relevancy of …… using the diversity with in the Church that historically brought its divisions to become the very strength of bringing its unity?” Let’s look at that question.
The yellow pages of my phone book are filled with pages of subdivided “categories” of Christian Churches in my local city. It attempts to compartmentalize the different “divisions” with in the Church by topics. Similar churches are listed under similar titles, but different from other churches in the area, and proud of their differences rather than their similarities.
There are listed “evangelical” churches with a strong emphasis for evangelism, “pastoral” churches that emphasize small group ministries, more person to person contact and care, “Word” churches that boast how they teach the “Word of God” uncompromisingly, “spirit-led” churches that are open to the prophetic and free style of worship, and even “apostolic” churches claiming to be the “true” church. All recognize their strengths, boast in it, and emphasize it, but are unwilling to yield to those other “members of the body of Christ” who have strengths that flair up as their weaknesses. The Church looks as a group that is independent from one another that doesn’t “need” one another, nor want to “fellowship” with those not under the same banner of strength, yet they try to talk a good talk about the “unity of the body of Christ”. They might be united in heaven, for there is no “sections” in heaven like there are at sporting arenas, but they certainly are not united in any way on earth! Though they claim to be preaching about the same Jesus, they proclaim different “gospels,” thus emphasizing their differences. What happened to the section of the Lord Prayer that states, “thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven?”
Rather than the church as an institution, let’s look at individual believers in Jesus. Every believer needed an evangelist to “introduce them to Jesus!” No “rebirth”; no “new life”! You can’t deny the gospel, the good news, that an evangelist brings. Every believer needs a “shepherd” with a pastoral heart to guide, nurture, & care for them through their spiritual walk. Often we call these individuals our “spiritual parents.” Every believer needs to be grounded in the Word, the Bible, individually, through daily Bible reading and studying allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to them, and with sound Biblical teaching. The 1st Century called this teaching the “Apostles’ Teachings” that became the groundwork for the new Church. Every believer needs the prophetic, making their “theological” life a “living, vibrant” life of faith, a daily walking out of their salvation, a daily need to feed and grow on Jesus. Every believer needs the “over sight” of an “overseer” to “see over” what the Holy Spirit is doing in individual lives and corporately in the gathering of the saints. I must admit, as a believer in Jesus, I need all five of these passions, all five of these points of view to help me grow into the maturity and image of Jesus Christ while I live here on earth.
Now, as an individual believer, I can admit that I need the diversity of the body of Christ; then why can the Church corporately admit it too? Why can’t we, the church, embrace one another in Jesus, serving one another in Jesus, and drawing from the strength of other believers in Jesus together? Only when we drop our prejudices against our own brethren, can we embrace them in the love of Christ. Individually we need one another; corporately we, the CHURCH, also need one another to full fill the calling of Ephesians 4 to bring unity to the Body of Christ.
Only through diversity can the Church of Jesus Christ be strong. Let’s embrace that truth, and quit joining in the fight against it! Let’s eliminate the “secular” subdivisions that the Yellow Book, and so many others, believers and nonbelievers, see. Let’s not only embrace one another, but begin to practice I John 3:16 of “laying down our lives for our brethren,” because that is his definition of true love!
(This is the second part of a 7 part series. I invite you to look back at the previous blogs and join me in future blogs about the relevancy of the five fold to the 21st Century Church.)