I’ve been reading a book on a missionary movement that has developed within the Chinese Church called the Back To Jerusalem Movement. This movement is a vision to evangelize to the countries between China and Jerusalem that are inundated with Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. This vision is worth talking about in itself, but one thing that has struck me while reading this book is the heart of the Chinese Church for unity.
I don’t know if you have noticed but there are an astounding number of denominations in America. Isn’t it a little strange that we all read the same Bible, worship the same God, and yet we divide ourselves into so many splintered groups of supposedly the same Body?
From what I’m reading in Back to Jerusalem, the modern Chinese Church also has issues with believers reading the Bible, coming to different theological conclusions, and splitting ways. However, to my amazement, they have chosen to reconcile and continue to work together under the vision God has given them. Many people may still hold different theological beliefs on hot issues (such as Calvinism verses Arminianism), but they have actively chosen to see that that the important thing is whether or not they are loving God and loving others.
This blows me away!
I can tell you many names of people I know personally who have suffered long term damage under disagreements in churches. And for what purpose? So a new building could be built? So someone’s theological idea could be maintained steadfastly? So that our own selves could be served before others? I wonder if God ever looks at us and sees us exactly as we see two children selfishly fighting over a toy. It’s ridiculous!
I don’t have some amazing solution to all the church’s problems, but I do encourage all of us to examine who we are and what we are doing in the church. Are we actually loving God and loving others? Maybe we are just sitting around waiting for a new big church building to be built. Maybe we are fighting with our Brothers about some stupid idea about God instead of actually encouraging one another to know God more deeply.
Ultimately, anyone who trusts in Christ for salvation is part of His Body. I wonder what the modern American church would like if we actually acted like we were one Body under God rather than many bodies out for their own myopic purposes.