Unity in the Lord’s Supper

Sometimes we get the idea that God’s people should never have problems, that they should always get along, and that there will always be harmony. Anyone who thinks this cannot have read Paul’s letters to God’s people at Corinth. It is hard to imagine a group of Christians who could have so many problems including not getting along!

But they were still God’s people! In the opening verses, Paul referred to them as “the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2 NET). Just because they had problems did not negate who they were in Christ. Continue reading “Unity in the Lord’s Supper”

Three divisive scenarios – God’s one unifying solution

Peaceful unity is beautiful, whereas evil promotes cantankerous divisiveness. We recognize this. However, are we aware just how profoundly solidarity saturates God’s will at all levels?

Paul’s writings outline God’s solutions for a fractured cosmos, a divided church and broken relationships. Should we be surprised that at its core the same solution keeps appearing? Continue reading “Three divisive scenarios – God’s one unifying solution”

Homogeneity

“Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11 NKJV).

Much of the violence and unrest in the world today may be traced at least in part to cultural variety. In the transition from colonialism to independence many borders were drawn on the basis of geography alone without regard for radical differences in the ethnicities involved. Former colonial powers ignored tribal enmities and incompatibilities, as well as serious religious tensions. This led to civil war on a vast scale on several different continents. Of course, not every such conflict is traceable to colonialism. The same forces produce conflict in many contexts. Continue reading “Homogeneity”

The church split

Imagine my surprise while eating lunch at a table filled with preachers to hear one fellow brag to another about how many church splits he had instigated.  I was horrified. As far as I was concerned, such an acknowledgement should be an embarrassment.

It does not take too much insight to understand how he thought, even though I have never experienced a church split. I wonder how deeply he considered the following observations and antidotes before triggering each division. Continue reading “The church split”

Why the church gets no respect

You probably remember the favorite line of funny man Rodney Daingerfield: “I get no respect.” Sometimes, it seems to me, the church gets no respect.

As writer John Stott once observed, “The unchurched are hostile to the church, friendly to Jesus Christ.” Often we hear someone say, “I don’t like organized religion.” One wonders, does that mean he likes his church disorganized? As Will Rogers once quipped, “I am a member of no organized political party; I’m a democrat.” Continue reading “Why the church gets no respect”

What precedes Christian unity

People have proposed many different paths toward acquiring unity among believers. If we will pay close attention to Jesus’ teachings as well as to his apostles’ instructions, we will discover an oft overlooked powerful contributor.

Before people spill a drop of ink or type a single letter revealing our strategies for uniting Christians, we would do well to listen to the Messiah. Jesus prepared people to follow him by describing an essential attitude preceding kingdom service. Continue reading “What precedes Christian unity”

Looking for peace in all the wrong places

Peace is difficult to obtain. In fact, the only lasting peace available is in the spiritual realm. However, even there it must be properly focused. Peace is a possession of God and we’ll find it only on his terms.

Humans falsely think that physical peace brings spiritual peace. But that’s backwards. All measures of peace begin spiritually and then emanate out to the other areas of our lives. Continue reading “Looking for peace in all the wrong places”