As the “Rally to Restore Unity” wraps up, I have a few final thoughts on Christian unity.
First of all, the name “Restore” Unity is kind of a misnomer, since I can’t remember the last time we had unity to restore. Kind of like having a “Revival.” How about just a “Vival?”
My much more important thought for the day is this: we don’t trust God.
No matter how much we say we trust Him, or go to church, or pray, deep down, we have real trust issues with God. We think He’s asleep at the wheel, or just doesn’t care.
If I had to pick one thing that causes more Christian disunity, that would be it. Here’s why.
For thousands of years, humans created religions, and virtually every religion was a series of rituals and tasks that had to be done to appease the gods. Then Jesus came along and said, “All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Period. No “grace…and.” It had never occurred to people that God’s grace would be enough to save humanity.
The funny thing is, Jesus has had no copycats. No other faith has said God will do the saving since Jesus. People continue to invent new ways to appease the gods. And what did Christians do after Jesus left? They didn’t trust him either. You can’t even get out of the Bible without someone saying, “Grace…and something else” is the way to salvation. And for two-thousand years, we’ve been arguing about what the “and” is that makes “real” Christians.
“Grace…and,” causes Christian disunity.
There are still dozens of bloggers picking apart Love Wins, making it their singular mission in life to prove that it’s all false, as if the fate of every person who ever lived rests on their shoulders alone. The way some people talk about the book, you’d think it was the Necronomicon, straight from the bowels of hell itself (which would be humorously ironic.)
It’s great to discuss and debate things. But the tone some of the debate has taken makes me wonder if we really trust God to do his job. God says it’s his job to guard his flock. It’s God’s job to convict human hearts. It’s God’s job to illuminate the Bible when we read it. Yet, church people have always made it their priority to play “whack-a-mole” with heretics for two-thousand years, without much success.
Heresy has always and will always exist. It exists in your church right now. Take ten people and ask them ten theological questions, and you’ll get a hundred answers. Christian community isn’t formed when people all arrive at the same conclusions. If that’s what it takes, Christian community has never existed. Community happens as people come together to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.
Playing heretic “whack-a-mole” causes Christian dis-unity.
Is That a Threat?
What’s amazing to me is how threatened we are by unity. We’re suspicious of it. We question the motives of people who call for unity. We think that we’re going to have to “give up” something or let truth be “silenced,” or let heresy “win” in order to be unified. We’d rather hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors than heretics.
We say that Jesus is bigger than our differences. But we’re not.
Let me ask you this: if you’re so wise, and you have the truth, why would you break unity with that heretic and keep your truth to yourself? Shouldn’t you try to continue to build trust and unity with that person, so you can gently guide them to the truth? Breaking unity with a heretic seems rather un-compassionate. If you want heresy to spread, kick the heretics out of your church. Loving a heretic as a brother or sister in Christ doesn’t mean you have to hold hands with them and get their heretic cooties, so chill.
Being threatened by unity causes Christian dis-unity.
That wraps it up! What do you think the biggest unity-killer is among Christians? Is it “grace…and,” or trying to make sure everyone thinks the same way, or being threatened by unity? Or is it something else?