I read an excerpt from a book several years ago that stood out to me as being so applicable to the division, and debating we see around the Message that I have read it many times since.
We don’t typically post extended excerpts like this, but I wanted to share it with our readers in hopes that it will strike home with you as much as it does with me.
There was some dice-throwing that went on at the foot of the cross…I’ve wondered what the scene must have looked like to Jesus…
‘All right, all right–this throw is for the sandals.’
Casting lots for the possessions of Christ. Heads ducked. Eyes downward. Cross forgotten…
It makes me think of us. The religious. Those who claim heritage at the cross. I’m thinking of all of us. Every believer in the land. The stuffy. The loose. The strict. The simple. Upper church. Lower church. ‘Spirit-filled.’ Millenialists. Evangelical. Political. Mystical. Literal. Cynical. Robes. Collars. Three-piece suits. Born-againers. Ameners. (NB note: insert random doctrinally named sub-division of the Message)
I’m thinking of us.
I’m thinking that we aren’t so unlike those soldiers. (I’m sorry to say)
We, too, play games at the foot of the cross. We compete for members. We scramble for status. We deal our judgments and condemnations. Competition. Selfishness. Personal gain. It’s all there. We don’t like what the other did so we take the sandal we won and walk away in a huff.
So close to the timbers yet so far from the blood.
We are so close to the world’s most uncommon event, but we act like common crapshooters huddled in bickering groups and fighting over silly opinions.
How many pulpit hours have been wasted on preaching the trivial? How many churches have tumbled at the throes of miniscuity? How many leaders have saddled their pet peeves, drawn their swords of bitterness and launched into battle against brethren over issues that are not worth discussing?
So close to the cross but so far from the Christ…
Are our differences that divisive? Are our opinions that obtrusive? Are our walls that wide? Is it that impossible to find a common cause?
‘May they all be one,’ Jesus prayed.
One. Not one in groups of two thousand. But one in One. One church. One faith. One Lord. Not Baptist, not Methodist, not Adventist. Just Christian. No denominations. No hierarchies. No traditions. Just Christ.
Too idealistic? Impossible to achieve? I don’t think so. Harder things have been done, you know. For example, once upon a tree, a Creator gave his life for his creation. Maybe all we need are a few hearts that are willing to follow suit.
“Can you see now why I’m standing for unity of every church, every full gospel church, every believer? We ought to be one heart, one mind, and one accord. No matter how much we different in the Scriptures; that might be… One might see this that way, or–that has nothing to do with it. But in principle, we ought to stand, one great, mighty, army of God marching on, because each one of you in your peculiarity, God has proved that He’s ignoring your doctrine, because He give you the Holy Ghost. And the Bible said, “He gave–give them the Holy Ghost that obeyed Him.”
Now, if I obeyed Him in my peculiar way, and you obeyed Him in your peculiar way, He give us both the Holy Ghost, so we ought to be Christian brethren and sister enough, to arm up together and march on for one great purpose, the Gospel.