Many it seems are confused, disillusioned, or just plain deceived about church. Ask any number of church goers why they attend church and you will probably receive as many different answers as people questioned. Some of this is understandable, probably because of upbringing and sadly incomplete theology, and I’m sure some other reasons based on various causes.
So given all these different perceptions is it any wonder we struggle with purpose? The Church is the representation of God’s coming Kingdom, a witness to the world of how the future Kingdom will operate, ie the basis of relationships, the fellowship of the “Body of Believers” (more on Fellowship in a future post) and how walking in obedience, (not because we have to but because we want to) is instrumental in providing compelling evidence of true love, expressed first through Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection 3 days later, and then subsequently in those who choose to believe and follow after Him.
In the midst of these purposes it seems many are bogged down in areas of doctrinal differences, styles of worship, and denominational pride. I have gone to a number of different churches and religious organizations in my quest for finding God, from fringe elements I won’t bother mentioning, to mainstream denominations like Baptist, Catholic, and Congregational churches. I will admit in the process I had a number of false starts, however one thing did become apparent, there were a number of churches with various styles and doctrinal differences who still taught sound theology.
Given the unique attributes and diverse personality types we are created with, it makes sense to me that we would be attracted to diverse styles. I guess my point is that diversity and unity not only can co-exist, they must co-exist. Perhaps if we as the body (the church) could share in a basis of sound theology and apply a grace to divergent styles, denominations and doctrinal differences…. and herein is where we run into the stone wall!
Maybe what we need to do is prayerfully consider where God would plant us and then submit fully to the doctrines and authority placed in that part of the body… whoops another stone wall…don’t we just love words like submit and authority?
We are a broken people, we are born into sin and we will never get it all 100% right, however this doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and adopt an attitude of can’t or won’t but instead as we are transformed day by day the church around us will be transformed as well. Unity and diversity will only work when we have reached a point where we can accept that it isn’t about me, and that there is truth that is true and not subject to relativistic ideology.
Sorry I have run on here, but I would love to continue these thoughts as they have, I believe eternal significance!