For a few years now, one of the things the Lord has been teaching me is how serious He is about reconciliation and unity.
From the start this idea comes hard to a born and bread protestant. I mean, after all, protest-ant – one who protests – that’s what I am.
We protest-ants are famous for unity – especially if you agree with us. But hey, if you sprinkle instead of immerse – that is beyond the pale of orthodoxy.
People recognize our sense of community – unless you raise your hands when you worship.
We have a certain renown when it comes to body life – until you start spouting your old-earth propaganda.
We take great pride in our loyalty – though I hope you don’t start talking about predestination.
There is no one quite as long suffering as we are – unless you believe in that mid-trib, pre-mill, rapture-less interpretation of Daniel and Revelation.
We are such a bunch of splitters. We are best known for splitting over doctrine and theology.
And perhaps the days of actual church splits are past. Now we carry out our protests in a more subtle way. We float. You know floaters, don’t you?
In my part of the world, northern New Jersey, there are four or five Bible believing churches in a ten-mile radius. To be honest, that is an understatement. I should say there are four or five in which I would be culturally comfortable. If you count churches with born again pastors doing their best to preach the Word of God to their flock, my ten-mile radius the number is much higher.
In the late 90’s I was attending a church in the town of Midland Park, NJ. At the time there were thirteen protestant churches listed in the phone book. Today, if you go to NJ.com you will find that there are 200 churches listed within five-miles of Midland Park. Folks, Midland Park is 1.53 square miles and has a population of 7,227 (thank you Google.) And that does not include the off-the-grid churches that meet in homes. “Organized religion” just doesn’t meet their needs.
These floaters move from church to church when they get tired of the preaching. They leave when their feelings get hurt. They pull up roots just because they feel like they need a change. We see a new couple come in the back door. We greet them with open arms. Then we find out they are on the fifteen-year plan. They came to our church a dozen years ago, and since have spent three years, more or less in the other four near by churches.
I am painting a picture that I believe breaks the heart of God.
Do you remember Jesus’ prayer in John 17?
I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. John 17:20-21
God’s idea was reconciliation. His plan was to draw men back to Himself, and in doing so back into community.
But Ben, you say, aren’t we called to guard the truth, and hold to true doctrine.
Absolutely! We must keep the wolves out of the sheepfold, and guard those who come near preaching damnable heresy’s out. These heresies draw people away from Christ. They lead to ungodliness, and make people look less and less like Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong. There are times when you have to leave, or split, or break fellowship. But for the most part, we know nothing of that. It is time to live in covenant the Jesus and His body.
Death to the Truth
God did something drastic to make reconciliation possible. There was only one way to allow people - enslaved by sin - enemies of God - full of all sorts of lies and misunderstandings - back into relationship with the pure and holy God.
His plan – Crucify the Truth – Take the very Word that spoke the universe into being and put Him to death.
God crucified the Truth to restore relationship! (Tweet This)
Let me say that again so that it has a chance to sink in.
God crucified the Truth to restore relationship. Yet we abandon relationship to preserve our dogma and doctrines.
Jesus is the Word made flesh. He is the way the TRUTH and the life.
We in our flesh were the enemies of all that is true. Still God thought it better for the Truth to die a horrible death than for us to stay on the other side of the veil.
He tore the veil. That veil was the flesh of the Lord Jesus which stood between the sinful man and the Holy God.
Truth is not Dead
The Truth did not stay dead. I get that. This was not the end of the truth, and believe me God has a high regard for truth.
I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name. Psalms 138:2
My desire today is not that you abandon the Word. No, but be reconciled to one another in love. When Paul faced divisions in Corinth, he determined to know nothing among them except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
So what about you? Are you a splitter, floater or sticker?
Thanks for coming by.
See you again soon.