Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday's Teachings - What Franchise are You?

Last week my husband was playing on Youtube and watching his favourite comics. After a while he found a skit by Emo Phillips (NB: not for the easily offended) that made us laugh out loud. It was the type of joke that you want to tell others, but can never get it right.

However, it got me thinking about the Church. How many of us when asked about "What are you?" answer Baptist, Christian Reformed, Methodist, etc..... Growing up, the only religions I knew were Catholic, Anglican, United, Methodist, and Presbyterian. I didn't realize how many other denominations there actually were. I studied the break of the Catholic Church in history, but never knew the reason for the breaks within the Protestant Church or how soon they had come.

After I became a Christian within the Christian Reformed Church (Calvinist), I started to see the difference. In fact, when I visited with my future sister in law, before becoming a Christian, she told me about the break of her own church and that some people had stayed and some people had left and that neither to two spoke. In the church I attended , there was a visible difference between services - earlier being traditional and later being contemporary. I couldn't understand the rift and why people couldn't work it out, instead of pointing fingers as to who started it and who carries it on (still an issue at that same church today).

Even now, I hear about differences in denominations and the arguments over them. My husband and I just started attending a Free Methodist Church. When I mentioned to our new pastor that we had come from a Christian Reformed Church, she was shocked about us coming to a Wesleyan church.

God calls us to be unified.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. (Ephesians 4:1-7 NIV)

God first calls us to be as Christ to each other. Be humble, gentle, patient and caring. As Christians we are called to a higher standard. What do people see when they look at us if we keep breaking over difference of opinions. Either they see us fighting and mock us as to how we can say we love each other or we become the butt of the joke. The Franchise! We need to be Christ to each other so that others can see Christ within each of us.

God then calls us to be unified in all things as we are united in Christ. We may have differences of opinions over believer's baptism vs. infant; traditional hymns vs. contemporary praise and worship; teachers (Calvin, Knox, Wesley, ...)...... Are we not all believers in Christ? Do we not all follow Him and honour Him. Maybe its because of who I am that I find the divisiveness so disheartening. Most of my Christian friends are from many other denominations. We may have difference of opinions over doctrine, but have we had large fights over them and then never spoken to each other again - NO! The arguments over doctrine and denominations is so bad that Bible Study Fellowship (an interdenominational bible study) have a rule that you are not to mention the denomination you attend so that you do not offend others.

Luckily for us that God gives us grace! Grace to forgive and to be forgiven. How many of us have judged someones beliefs and discounted them before we really studied and prayed about it? Have you been victimized by other Christians over your beliefs and have you forgiven them?

Max Lucado states in his book, No Wonder They Call Him the Savior,
One. One Church. One Faith. One Lord. Not Baptist, not Methodist, not Adventist. Just Christians. No denominations. No hierarchies. No traditions. Just Christ. Too idealistic? Impossible to achieve? I don't think so.....

God calls us to be unified in Him. Is it too idealistic? Is it impossible? Are you willing to start today?

1 comments:

Andrea said...

Amen! Well said, Michelle!

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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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