Here I am. Writing once again about unity.
Yes, this is just another message about unity.
Everybody of every background, belief system, and opinion is talking about it and I was deterred from writing this article in fear of feeding a cliche.
Nonetheless, my conviction is my conviction. I am sure this is what God has called me to write about right now and I will pursue it.
On October 7th, 2021 an article was released by “The New Yorker” titled, What American Christians Hear at Church.
Allow me to note, that this magazine is not a Christian magazine although it is apparent that they culturally feel inclined to comment on their external position on the church.
Why is this?
The answer I believe was unconsciously yet clearly stated within author Casey Cep’s writing when he notes,
“This is regrettable, since many more Americans attend church than subscribe to a newspaper.”
But nonetheless, I was intrigued by this article for a plethora of reasons.
One of the most disconcerting reasons being that in evaluating the church on Sunday mornings it was noted numerous times that there is a harsh line drawn between sermon presentations.
Read this quote,
“This country is filled with preaching on all sides of every political or social movement, with sermons on any given Sunday praying for the President or calling him illegitimate, arguing for reproductive freedom or against abortion, praising social welfare or condemning it, decrying socialism or explaining how Jesus practiced it. The fissures of our society are evident in our churches, as they have always been, and although the hope is that the divisions of the secular world can be erased there, all too often they are reinforced instead.”
Once again I state. This is not a Christian magazine.
I am not asking anyone (Especially pastors) to put aside their political opinions; however, I am asking them (For who applies) to preach the Word and stop being preaching themselves.
If we honestly think that fleshly conversations from the pulpit are of God then we are in a worse position than I thought.
Preach the Word, rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15). The Gospel should be the unifying factor of the church and it should promote unity.
Paul addresses such division in 1 Corinthians. Let me introduce exhibit A which is 1 Corinthians 1:10.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
These phrases are glossed over as if they are optional.
“Speak the same thing.”
“Be no divisions among you.”
“Perfectly joined together.”
This is what God wants for the church. It is not a leisurely suggestion that God will be happy with whether we heed his word or not.
Unity is sound doctrine. Sound doctrine being “healthy” doctrine.
False teachers (Many of which the author affirmed as legitimate pastors) are not the only people fissuring an external and internal view of the church.
Biblically “sound” pastors are not doing the Body any favors either by teaching secondary opinions and giving more encouraging stories than the encouraging Word of God.
We must preach the Word; otherwise, we are merely paying lip service to God when we claim to be “Gospel-centered.”
Let our foundation and like-mindedness be in that Christ died, was buried, and rose for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). And spiritual maturation is not learning long theological words or anything of our own righteousness.
It is abiding in this truth and continuing to esteem Christ as the head of the Body of Christ.
Check out Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 4:13-15 when he urges,
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”
By Paul’s definition of unity, it never departed from the Gospel as the origin. He never reinstated unity as reorganizing a church, social programs, fleshly love, or anything else that we try and band-aid hurt with.
It is the Gospel that bonds us into a perfect man and woman. Only Christ can do it.
When we depart from it and preach the secondary or chase other doctrines we are bound to be deceived and further the fissures that the secular world is obviously seeing.
Speak truth (Gospel-centered) in love and grow in Christ.
Grow in unity.
So yes, as the title suggested, this is just another message about unity to pile on top of the thousands published these past couple of years.
Yet, if this one sticks for just one person, my heart will sincerely be glad.
Because after all, a body doesn’t function if dismembered and it doesn’t move without a head.
If the Church confesses that Jesus is Lord and head of the Church, then we must be moved as one!
I hope this message enriches and as always,