Saturday, September 22, 2007

Christian Unity

Comparing Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17 to the reality of division among Christian denominations is really discouraging. For most of my Christian life I have struggled to understand why the answer to this prayer appears to be "No."

I know many will disagree, but I have concluded that there must be much more unity than appears to be the case. Much of the disagreement among Christians is over silly, insignificant things. (Is God showing us the absurdity of our fusses by flauting Sunnis and Shites in our daily headlines?)

Yet, gatherings such as Promise Keepers, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and almost any Christian Music concert demonstrate a remarkable level of agreement on the basic essentials of Christianity. Could it be that God regards the vast majority of our denominational differences as absurd and unimportant?

I have many friends who are members of different denominations. They are all sincere, serious students of the Bible who fully intend to obey it in every aspect of life.

Many may disagree with me, but I have concluded that we are divided into only two groups: People who choose to follow their own will, and people who follow the will of God.

You may say, "OK, but no one really follows the will of God" and in a way you would be right. The answer to this objection is one word: "Grace". If it were not for the merciful grace of God we would all be lost. But by God's grace, if we faithfully follow Him and trust Him to save us He will. We have no problem understanding that God's grace covers our moral mistakes. If this is true, is it not also true that His grace covers our doctrinal and theological misunderstandings as well? Is this the key to the reality that Jesus' prayer is answered to a much greater degree than we have ever dared to imagine?

I pray that the answer the these two questions is "Yes!"

Trust and obey Him.