Ephesians 4:1-6 – “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” NKJV
A long time ago I grew weary of the man-made branding, labeling and tags that often are nothing more than religious sectarian pride that divide rather than advance the Kingdom of God. You may disagree and that is fine I won’t fight with you over it that is between you and God. I am however interested in what you believe and in whom you believe. I do not care about your particular brand or title but do care about your relationship with our LORD. I recently has someone ask, “Are you a reverend?” My response was, “By man’s labeling yes, but I’ve been Roy longer than I’ve had a title so please refer to me by name and identify me as simply a follower of Christ.” My attitude toward labels and tags is: “If you go up they will fall off and if you go down they will burn off.”
Paul called for “unity of the Spirit” everywhere he went. To the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 1 he broached the subject of their sectarianism as some would want to identify with Paul, Apollos, Peter or someone. Paul’s challenge was for them to show him where Christ was divided and bring them into the “unity of the Spirit.” He continued that topic in 1 Corinthians 3 addressing the issue of carnality, envy, strife and discord reminding them that when someone would declare, “I am of Paul and someone else I am of Apollos” it was carnal not spiritual and thereby detrimental not beneficial for the Kingdom.
I am glad you have an association of like-minded believers to worship, fellowship and grow with but if it becomes a prideful division it is rooted in carnality not the purpose of God. I understand doctrinal differences but also understand that many of those differences are more semantics than essential concerns. It is often preference rather than anything near the heretical labels often ascribed to the differences. I am told that Voltaire once said, “If Christians want us to believe in their Redeemer, let them act redeemed.” If we are fighting each other in various sects we present an image of the Christian faith that is anything but constructive or appealing to the lost. Be a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Charismatic, or whatever but NEVER allow your particular label or band make you EXCLUSIVE to the point that you only accept those who agree with you in all things and all the time. We ‘know in part’ and it just might be that someone who does not fully ascribe to that particular brand of doctrine we follow might have some truth and we might have some error. Christ is not divided and He is the one that SAVES!
I realize that in entering this discussion I run the risk of being labeled with some incredibly negative characterizations. Years ago, the Holy Spirit instructed me that I had to be ‘inclusive’ not ‘exclusive’. He made it clear that I WAS NOT to become politically correct and allow everything but I also WAS NOT to become so narrow that I excluded everything that did not fit my particular mold. That has been a difficult, rewarding, trying and wonderful experience as I walked through the mine field of man’s opinion seeking God’s truth, power, purpose and vision.
I am very interested in people and their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I desire to see the Body of Christ be the Body of Christ and impact our world powerfully for the Kingdom of God lifting up the Name of Jesus and demonstrating Him in our lives. That is my desire!
May God bless you as you go through this day!