image courtesy of Keene and Cheshire County (NH) Historical Photos
Why can’t we all get along? One of the downsides to the great advancements of Martin Luther is the need of Christians to create new denominations each time they disagree. Denominations in themselves are not so bad; it is appalling how we separate from other Christians believing that our segment of the body of Christ is better than the other segments. But how do we get along with people with whom we disagree?
Because of many moves my Christian background is a large montage of denominations. I have been Southern Baptist, Independent Baptist, Pentecostal, non-denominational, Methodist, Evangelical Free, Episcopal, overseas missionary church, and Presbyterian, PCA and EPC. I am happy for my varied background because I have learn from each one. God is good and is willing to meet people whatever their background. We are the ones that get caught up with denominations that tend to create barriers between Christians. Each of these denominations have natural strengths bred into them and accompanied weaknesses, which is why we need the full body of Christ if we are to represent Him well to this world and each other. The key to survival is the old quote, “unity in essentials and liberty in the no-essentials.” What are the essentials?
- God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
- Sin has separated you for God’s love and His plan for you.
- God send His Son to remove that separation so you may know and experience God’s love and plan.
- And, we must each receive Jesus to be reunited to God’s love and plan.
After that there are plenty of truths and good things to know, but if God is okay with the diversity then I guess we can be too. God is more concern with unity than right thinking. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone’s thinking, but you still need to love and honor them. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
I know a Christian couple that is going through a hard time. The wife believes that they need to be separated right now and possibly believes it would be better if they divorce. The husband doesn’t believe either are true. They both have strong views on the subject. What is more important? That they figure out who is right or for the two of them to love each other in an understanding way? I know this is a hard topic because as Christians there are some strong views about marriage that make it hard for you to possibly see both sides. That is why I chose this example, because other denominations will also believe things that may be unthinkable to you.
The key to success is honoring one another as people. It is not important that you get others to believe like you or behave like you. You want them to know that they have value and worth and are free to do what they want. You also want to empower that in them, but not at the expense of your own self-worth or value.
So back to those of different denominations, honor what is good in them. Rejoice in the breakthroughs that God has given them in certain areas and don’t feel the need to attack the areas you disagree. There may be times where you are called to speak the truth in love; just make sure that your speech is bathed in love when it comes to those times. Your goal is unity. You will not be called to treat someone else in a way different than Jesus treats them. People will know we are Christians by our love (John 13:35).
Kevin Shorter is the founder of this prayer-coach site and have served for several years in ministry and churches teaching on a variety of Biblical topics. Go to the contact page to request him to speak at your conferences and seminars.