Monday, February 27, 2017
A fellow journeyman in Christ, who takes tours to the holy land, recently wrote about a repeated happening. The guide on each one of his trips was a Muslim by the name of Tony. He writes, “When he had everybody’s attention, he would say, ‘Jordan is 94% Muslim and 6% Christian. The 94% who are Muslim are all members of the same Muslim sect, the Sunnis. The 6% of us who are Christian are hopelessly divided into hundreds of denominations and sects.’”
If one will search the Internet, he will find that there are at least 41,000 denominations identified as Christian. I can remember back in 1956 when we thought 1,000 was an astronomical number! I’m not sure what the amount was in the early 19th century when Alexander Campbell, Barton W. Stone, and others began pleading for Christians to be “one” as Jesus prayed in John 17:20-21. The basis for that oneness was so “the world may believe that You sent Me” (NKJV). When the world recognizes and defines Christianity as 41,000 separating walls, it doesn’t support Jesus’ claim that he came from the Father!
Division is a blight upon Christianity! Jesus prayed for oneness! From every pulpit Jesus’ prayer is preached but seldom practiced. Missionaries dedicate themselves to visit distance lands with Good News that unites, but sadly their faith is based upon division. Each one fortifies his message with scripture, proving that his teaching on true worship and practice are the way, the truth, and the life! Follow him and you will be saved. Cross your “t” and dot your “i” as he does and heaven will be your home.
Yet, those churches that follow his belief refuse to teach one single individual who will not submit to their way of seeing things. When some in that fellowship disagree, there is heated debate and a parting of the ways. Jesus’ prayer is forgotten as each division scrambles to prove how right they are and how wrong the other is. Each loudly proclaims that “they” are true to the gospel while their counterpart isn’t.
Soon other fires that have been smoldering, break out. Churches have their differences based more on culture than on truth. What mamma and daddy did becomes more important than what Jesus prayed! Yet each justifies their stance because they have correctly crossed every “t’ and dotted ever “i” as the Lord did! With such thinking, how can these divisions be right? Yet, in spite of Jesus prayer, ripping the church apart continued to be fair game!
What is surprising is that this did not happen in the twenty nor the twenty-first centuries, but in the first (Acts 15; Galatians 1:6-9; Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13; etc.).