I recently wrote my reflections I had recently during a run on the condition of the church. As someone who has spent years of study and in internships to become a leader and speaker in the church, people’s perception of the church is of great concern to me. In fact, I wish we had more generous churches who were environmentally friendly, experts at overcoming poverty and injustice run by pastors who were authentic and not trying to be cool, but I also wish for people to not be so judgmental about other Christians–so it’s easy to see that I can be part of the problem too. I had suggested that we all need to take a long hard look at ourselves, because it’s not our job to monitor other people–at least not until we’ve taken a good look at ourselves. The way Jesus put it was that we cannot help someone get a bit of saw dust out of their eye when we have log in our own eye (Mt. 7, Lk. 6).
Perhaps then we’d have a more unified church and a more cohesive, inviting community the represents God’s love to the world. A message of introspection and checking our own hearts first would help solve a lot of our issues. The Westboro community looking at themselves to see if they are really loving everyone as Jesus commands instead of taking up hate signs upon the instruction of their leader. World hunger and easily preventable disease would be reduced if church people really looked at their hearts and asked how much their hearts were swayed by their money and their own comfort. Politics and our economy in this country (as Andy Stanley has suggested) would be different if we realized that it’s not a lack of money problem that we have–it’s a spending problem. And as much as we eagerly point our fingers at Washington and corporations we should look at our own spending and realize how much we share in the blame.
And if we could just get the church to stand together and stop bickering with each other than we could really direct change in our country and around the world.
I have heard so many speeches at Christian conferences about how we need unity in the church, but I have concerns about teaming together under the banner of unity.
Not that we shouldn’t strive for unity, but that when we are striving for unity our goal quickly distracts us from from our real mission–because when unity becomes our focus, we can become distracted from being love to all people.
And what if we became a unified church? How quickly would an age-old problem of “us verses them” seep into our thinking? “We the unified, mighty church of God?” Rather, if we focused each on our hearts and concern to love all people, unity would be a natural byproduct of our hearts and there would be little room for the “us verses them” mentality because our first priority would be loving everybody and when you are trying to love everybody it’s hard for anyone to become an outsider or enemy.
But maybe I have too simplistic of a solution to the problem.
- Kevin DeYoung of the Gospel Coalition listed 10 steps for unity in the RCA. He agrees that unity should not be the goal (#9) but suggest truth not love as the answer. I wonder who has the perfect interpretation of the Truth that will unite denominations/churches….
- For a much more scripture filled article on the need of unity see CARM’s article, “The Need for Unity in the Church.”