Integration.

Have you ever wondered why Christians separate themselves from one another? Have you ever wondered why there are so many different churches and denominations that choose not to approach one another? Well I have too. It doesn’t seem right to me.

All of my life I’ve heard unbelievers ask me, “why don’t Christians get along?” I’ve always wondered that myself. Even though our theologies and our doctrines might be slightly different, why do we continue to ignore fellow Jesus lovers?

A lot of people stand so hard firmed to their doctrine that they arrogantly express a judgmental mindset to someone who isn’t like them. There are so many mysteries to the Bible, so why do we have to have an opinion on what we don’t know and assume that we’re right? It’s hard to believe…but we don’t have all the answers to everything in the Bible. There are a lot of areas where only God knows what truly happened.

It reminds of a Bob Dylan quote, “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.”

We speak pompously and pontifically at other theologians as if they haven’t spent years themselves developing their theology. We hide behind our computers, slandering those on social media whose doctrines don’t line up with our own. I know how it feels because I do it myself.

We separate ourselves because of the unknown, instead of uniting for the known.

The known being Jesus and what He did for us.

When you become defensive, you begin to show your true insecurities.

Division in the churches isn’t somethings that’s brand new. It’s been around since Paul’s time. In 1 Corinthians 1:12 Paul writes, “what I mean is that each one of you says, ‘I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.’ Is Christ divided?”

We live in a dogmatic society that clenches to a set of decrees instead of holding firm to the reason why we’re on this earth. We say we discourage legalism, and yet we put rules inside of our doctorates to set us apart from fellow believers. We live by the regulations of our guidelines instead of living by the spirit. We say we don’t want to be like the Pharisees, but we lean on our own laws rather than on Jesus’ grace.

I’m not saying doctorates are evil. I believe we need to have a concrete foundation for our doctorates, the Bible is clear on that, but it’s not good if you build your entire house out of concrete. You’ll start to kick people out of your living spaces. Your neighbor becomes only those with concrete housing. You’ll begin to fortify yourself, but you won’t be able to help build others.

We need to integrate the church. We are one church, not separate churches. We are a body with many parts working together for God and God alone. This should be our goal; to restore and strengthen our body, instead of rebuking and reprimanding it, so that we can come together to serve the greatest cause in the world.

Like Bob Dylan writes, “Your old road is rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changin'”

So I leave with this final verse and some words of inspiration. “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:5-7 ESV)

Let’s strive for love and community with one another. Let’s change the world together, not for our denomination, but for Christ. Love ya dudes.

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13 thoughts on “Integration.

  1. Good stuff here. Reminded me of a song the wacky comedian Steve Martin used to sing. There was a line “Criticize things you don’t know about…” There is actually a word for that behavior: ultracrepidarianism.
    I’ve done it and not proud of it. I’m a little more careful these days.

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  2. I agree and disagree. I think it is so important to lay our pride aside and all represent Jesus and be love to the world and one another, but love is two fold. Love is lavishing and love is discipline, in Hebrews 12:6 God talks about disciplining those he loves. Jesus says he is the way, the truth, and the life, that means if you aren’t following him, you are not in the way, even if you say/think you are. The Bible is also clear that we need to hold one another accountable, Jesus himself says in Luke 17:3, rebuke your brother if he sins, forgive him if he repents. We have had horrendous examples of rebuking, so does that mean we throw that out? No, it needs to be done in love and those examples are hard to come by nowadays. In general, I totally agree with your point. I disagree about letting someone say they represent Jesus when they truly aren’t, that is why non Christians aren’t fans of Jesus. Anyway, end rant and great writing!

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    1. I actually agree with you on your point. I can’t necessarily say I disagree with the author here only because I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt of not going into the many complexities that do yield roadblocks for everyone coming together–and there definitely are some. There are Christians/denominations that do indeed believe and do things that are completely contradictory to truth of Christ, and obviously handling it with wisdom is quintiessential, but like you said, holding each other accountable is necessarry, and even Paul said to distance yourself from people who are unwilling to listen to rebuke. Unity definitely is important, and it God’s absolute will, but he also said the wheat and the tears must grow together, and that sometimes his truth will draw a line in the sand between a peoples so…. Very interesting topic indeed.

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  3. This has been on my heart a lot lately too. I’ve been thinking about writing about it also. Oil on the beard.

    Recently, one of my good friends whose husband is a pastor of a large church told me he gets a ton of complain letters or, “I forgive you’s”, signed “Anonymous.”

    We have to get better at this. It’s hard, yes. But so necessary. Unite!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I believe there is a need for church to church partnership. A need for the church to be the social center once again. Jesus Christ and his teachings, the Holy Bible, should be our focus, not legalism of which separates us, nor pride, nor ownership of which creates illusions. Ownership can get ugly, we as people get enslaved by others ideas, instead of resting in the love, grace, trust, truth, and freedom of Jesus. As followers of Christ, we belong to Christ, not people, illusions, or ideas.

    Church to church partnership helps segregation become integration. There are communities out there now that have this kind of partnership, joining bodies of Christ followers together in worship, service, and learning. I’m shocked that there aren’t more communities that have these partnerships. Yet, after working for a local church in my city, I am not surprised by the segregation. I was saddened by what I saw, my local body, so wrapped up in individualism (as individuals and as a local body), honing our insecurities and sensitivities, creating walls around our hearts. And to add fuel to fire, the battle between the seven different local churches in a small location for the people was disheartening. Its like watching wolves fight over food. By this point, it’s the realization that those churches engaged in the fight for people have lost their first love, God. I believe them to be too wrapped up in power, money, and/or false teachings to recognize what has been lost.

    For some, it’s difficult to focus on the forest when your up against people who can only see trees. What will it take for Christ followers to wake up and see there’s a craving for the bigger picture, believers worshiping, loving, living, trusting, and relying on one another? When shall we start living Acts 29, rather than being played by the world and its ideas?

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  5. Hos 6:6  For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

    kheh’-sed….. kindness; by implication (towards God) piety; rarely (by opprobrium) reproof, or (subjectively) beauty: – favour, good deed (-liness, -ness), kindly, (loving-) kindness, merciful (kindness), mercy, pity, reproach, wicked thing.

    I really enjoy reading your blogs, I see the humility and honesty of the author. I have a theory, supposition and perhaps an idea as to “why” the body looks like it is divided.

    I believe there is a hidden “body” within the bigger body(s). So churches are the Big bodies, but there are cells within those churches, i.e. the Individual. I don’t know, but to my military tactical mind, this is good bomb shelter (haven) for the current TIME & battle going on. Perhaps like that Woman in the Wilderness that is being protected with the wings of an Eagle?

    Rev 12:14  And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

    I have met “Godly” individuals in all sects, groups, religions, and churches. I pray that God continues to protect, train and empower those “cells” as they strive to love him. Those trees were planted there for good reason and only our Master Gardener & Commander of Troops knows why.

    My “theory” is somewhat strengthened by the replies of others to this blog.

    Thanks and Shalom, keep sharing your thoughts!

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  6. Very true. I struggled with this also many yes back. But one thing we must all know is that there is one Lord, Jesus Christ and one Bible and one standard for judgement. When we get to heaven we won’t line up according to denomination or church but we all be judged according to the Word of God so we need to align our beliefs to the Bible and not to just any doctrine.

    Liked by 1 person

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