a call to unity.

This post is prompted by some strong convictions I’ve had for about a year now.  Recently, while reading one of those hate blogs targeted at IHOP-KC (hate when I do that, it only causes anger to spring up in me), I decided it may be beneficial to post about a topic I think is at the forefront of Jesus’ church today.  Unity.

I appeal to you, brothers,  by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no  divisions among you, but that you be united  in the same mind and the same judgment.  For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is  quarreling among you, my brothers.  What I mean is that  each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow  Apollos,” or “I follow  Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you  baptized in the name of Paul?

1st Corinthians 1:10-13

Upon reading this scripture, I think it’s very obvious that Jesus wants His church to be united in both mind and judgement.  I have seen many take the phrase “unity in the church” vastly out of context and say that it refers to unity within their church.  For instance, I go to so and so church here in Normal, and we strive for unity within our church.  That is a great idea, to be united to others in your church, and Jesus would love for that to happen, but it cannot be forgotten that we are ALL His church.  Everyone who is born again is a part of Christ’s church.  It doesn’t matter who your pastor is, who baptized you, or what theologian you agree with.  Christ is not divided.

In biblical times, the church was separated by city.  The church of Ephesus, the church of Corinth, etc.  Obviously, now, that is not the case.  It is my conviction that the reason for this is that we are all human and all interpret the scripture incorrectly sometimes, causing division and denominations to rise.  however, this does not mean that we have to hate the other denominations.  It is so important to embrace all Christ loving churches with love!  I can’t stress this enough.

Time for a little back story.  Upon being saved, I was going to a reformed church.  Looking back, I am filled with joy at the people who were around me in that church, and I still love each of them.  If it weren’t for that church, and Jesus working through them, I would not be who I am today.  I went hard in reformed theology, and loved debating and finding where I stand on issues such as “once saved always saved” or Calvinism vs. Arminianism.  I really fell in love with the theology and the fact that God chose me simply because of His love.

Then, I began going to a more charismatic gathering of young people.  At first, I was a little out of my element.  So much there was different from what I was used to, and my first reaction was to become offended because it was, simply, a little strange.  Thankfully, the apparent love for Jesus that I found in this gathering brought me back a couple more times.

The third or fourth time I went back, God wrecked me with His love.  The only way to describe what happened is to look at Acts 2 and at Pentecost (here I go being all controversial).  I have never been the same since this event, nor do I want to return to where I was before it.  Many, many, people, whom I love dearly, came to me, after I told some whom I was close to about this, with concern.  “I think that is demonic, Dakota, you should really be careful.”  I want to make this clear, I absolutely love their concern for me, and to this day appreciate that they encouraged the testing of every Spirit (1st John 4:1).  Upon testing, I have found a God who is more jealous for me than I would have ever imagined.  I have been so blessed by Him, and I only pray that He would pour out His Spirit on His whole church in this way, too.  So, yes, this means I believe the gifts are still present today (as is clear biblically), and to get even more controversial, yes, I speak in tongues (a lot). haha.

The reason I give this history is because I want you all to know that I have been on both sides of the coin.  I have been reformed, and would now consider my theology more ‘charismatic’ although I do not like that term (because many think ‘chaotic’ when hearing it).  And I love both sides of the coin, as well.  That all being said…

This is my offense.  I am absolutely, positively, fed up with the separation in the Church today.  And I believe Jesus is, as well.

Guys, this is His bride we’re talking about.  This is His beloved, whom He is coming back to dwell with forever.

It is not okay for us to have thoughts in our heart that our negative toward our brothers and sisters only because we see certain things a bit differently.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  1 Cor. 13:12

None of us have perfect theology.  We are all wrong in one place or another, because we simply can’t fully comprehend God’s heart in our flesh.  Yes, some people in the church practice things that are clearly a bit off, I would agree.  But I don’t think that is cause to have pride in our hearts that “our way is better” or “they really don’t know Jesus”.  It’s such a dangerous place to be, when we are looking at God’s children and judging them because they are a little different from us.

We are called to love our brothers and sisters, and that is what we must do.

I am convinced that God wants to accomplish great things in His church in these last days (look at me, being so controversial), and our separation is making it very difficult.  Just imagine if we could unite the way Jesus wants us to.  Entire cities gathering together to pray and worship, and minister to the poor.  This, I believe is what we are going to start seeing, as long as we can all get over our slight differences and embrace the body of Christ as a whole.

If you are a little thrown off with the whole “charismatic” movement, people, or church… or even me, I definitely invite you to shoot me an email or ask me to meet up with you and I would love to work through some of the stuff I believe with you in the word.  I really don’t want to be the cause for any separation anywhere, and would love to try my best to be completely transparent with my beliefs.

So, all that being said, I think our reaction is simple.  We need to stop the gossip, secrets, judging, and hating on other churches that are a part of Christ’s bride.  We need to embrace both the body and truth, and work together to become a church that is united under the banner of the cross.  This might mean some sacrifice.   It might mean that I don’t speaking in tongues when I go to a reformed bible study.  It might mean that we don’t talk about controversial subjects around people we know will disagree.  But we can find unity in the fact that Jesus died on the cross for us, and that, really, is all that matters.

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