Christian UnityBy Rev. B. S. Humberdross
Maryborough, Queensland, Australia
Member of the ULCCF
This is something I wrote on Christian Unit the other day. It sort of sets out some of my beliefs on this subject, and the fact that each Church is right in it;s first place and that our Christian Unity is not meant to be exemplified in One True Church, but that all Christian Churches, in their diversity, when viewed together make up that Unity. Just as Christ wanted and expected, well that's just my view anyway :)Rev. B. S. Humberdross
Ephesians FourHere again we see the theme of a body, which must work in unity to function. This passage calls us firstly to be humble, gentle and patient with one another. Is this is not really the great calling that Christ has gave us, to love each other as He did? Was not Christ himself compassionate, humble and above all patient?
In the time of Christ not everyone was patient enough, or humble enough to sit and listen to what this carpenter from Galilee had to say. They were to set in their ways to truly stop and listen to what God had to say; they were too busy with the ways of men. I believe that this is our problem now; we are too set in our ways and in our beliefs to just stop and listen to what God has to say. If we were to put away those things of men (the Church Fathers, the dogmas, the reformers) and just listen to the word of God, from our heart, and the Book, truly we would see that God does not want his Church to be this way.
Again and again we hear the analogy drawn of the CHURCH as a body with many parts, each with their place and function. Is this not how we should now be functioning. Christianity itself is split into a myriad of denominations just as the body is split into many different parts and limbs. Each limb and organ of the body has a specific function, all being distinctive and very different. This is how the CHURCH should be.
The denominations are all valuable and all have their function, without them the body, which is the CHURCH, could not function. Each denomination is different, and offers a harbour for different people. Yet all these churches are striving for the same thing. They all strive to gain souls for Christ, to bring the message of Christ to the people. Then why can't the churches acknowledge that they are one already, one in purpose! Their unity comes from their difference. Each denomination has its purpose within the one CHURCH.
Not all people can believe the same way. A Catholic needs the set dogma, the discipline, the superstition of the Church, that is how they feel comfortable worshipping the Lord. That is the type of relationship with God that they need. In contrast the "free thinking" churches like the Disciples of Christ have a different feel and function. Free of Creed and overbearing dogma they set an individual free to see God how they wish. The type of person who feels they find truth here would never feel the same way in the Catholic model, and the true Catholic would never feel comfortable with the Disciples of Christ type model. This is why God has let this so-called "division" come to pass. Because without this division there would never be the millions upon millions of Christians in the world that there are now. Instead there would only be those who felt comfortable with whatever type of church did exist, and others would be made to feel like heretics and apostates. There would be millions who would be left floundering never truly knowing God. There would be no salvation for many of the Christians today as they would not truly know Christ as Saviour of them, and of all, but only as a saviour of a few who can stand whatever brand of Christianity is available.
So can it not be seen that really this hotch-potch of beliefs in Christ is not really a mix up, a horrible rabble that is not pleasing to God. For truly this is how God intended it! (So that all could find their way to Him). A Unity of Separate parts, a body of many limbs and organs each with its own specific function and place in God's Holy Plan.
But where does this unity come from in this mixed environment? Well it comes from tour Core belief in one God, Father son and Holy Spirit. The unity comes from our belief that salvation comes from Christ. Truly anything outside of this can be overlooked with humility, patience, and above all love for our fellow Christians. Because is we truly believe in this we will follow the word of the Holy Bible, we will follow the Holy Spirit, we will follow our hearts, and reason, and find our home with Christ among the parts of the one body that is the true CHRUCH of God. We will find out place among the myriad of starts that make up the glorious union that is the Body of Christ.
The Lord's SupperThis one is a bit more short, and is about the Lord's Supper, yet again it;s just my view... so enjoy.......
Rev. B. S. Humberdross
1 Corinthians 10:14-17The body analogy is used again. But another mark of Unity is mentioned. This mark is a universal belief in the Lords Supper. All churches, in some form, believe in the taking of Bread and wine/fruit of the vine as commanded by the Lord. We all share in this one Bread and Wine, which is a participation in the body of Christ. Through this we are all united as Christians. It does not matter weather we believe in Transubstantiation or the real presence, or in the sacrament as a simple memorial. Scripture can prove all of these views, if it is interpreted the right way. Instead we must say that we could all be right, and yet, no one may be right. None of us alive today were in that upper room with Christ when he instituted His Holy Meal. None of us alive today have been able to question the Lord on it face to face. So can any of us truly say that we are right, and that someone else is wrong? I think not, and surely doing this would be a break of Christ ís great commandment to love our neighbours. And may in fact be a break in our Christian identities, as Christ commanded us to love one another as he loved us, that is, to love each other as brothers, as we all share the Christian faith.
It is important in the Lordís Supper not to try and put it into a box of our own imagining, but rather to only truly believe in what the Lord meant by His words. What this is we donít know, so we must put our faith in him, and trust that whenever, however the sacrament is celebrated, that is His words are spoken or is the intent is there to celebrate his Holy Meal, that truly it shall be manifested in the way he intended, regardless of our beliefs, for would the Lord want it any other way?
This brings me to conclude with the words of the reformation Queen of England Elizabeth I:
Twas God the Word who Spake it
He took the Bread and break it
And what his words doth make it
That I believe and take it
Let us believe that the Words wordís are enough for us and that maybe their true meaning will only be revealed on earth when He returns.
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