Are we capable of unity?
Imagine you are in a computer lab. You log on to a computer to check your email and maybe facebook… You notice that the Windows XP that this computer is running has the silver color theme to the taskbar. You are used to the default blue theme. This silver thing infuriates you, and also this has no bearing on the computer’s operations or functionality, you simply must log off and try another computer that has the blue theme, since it’s the only way you can fathom having a taskbar colored whilst checking your email in your browser of choice.
Ridiculous huh? [no one comment on Mac vs. Pc, or XP vs. Win7 okay – it’s the principle here!]
Then why do we as members of the multiple Churches of God, never meet with each other when often times our differences are not any greater than that of a taskbar color in XP?
This song by Relient K is interesting to this end:
Down in Flames Lyrics
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnYIkir9NjU [youtube video of the song]
Christ prayed for unity his last prayer, [John 17:11 – And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.] We are to be one! Christianity has had many trivial schisms over trivial issues, and continues to today!
There is no excuse! Christ prayed for unity, and we have very little of that!
It’s frustrating sitting back and just accepting that there are 200+ splinter groups from WCG, a good many of which have similar if not identical doctrines and practices. [see a list of Armstrong-ish groups: http://www.servantsnews.com/docs/coglist.htm] Yet none can associate with ‘the others’ because of petty issues springing from the previous generation. Thus the other groups are “laodicean, wrong, headstrong, too organized, not organized enough, deceived, not doing enough to further the work… [insert other bad traits and unsubstantiated propaganda]” During our parent’s generation 97.56% of the groups split off because ONE man had an issue, and started his own church. [okay, it’s a made-up statistic, but it’s probably higher than that in reality] These issues were mostly limited to power struggles [who’s in charge] and pride issues. I am not attempting to say that there were not deep personal wounds inflicted, but to let those pride-based divisions remain intact for the next generation is something I cannot sit back and accept! That’s not to say that the organizations/groups are not full of wonderful zealous people because of a less-than-orthodox beginning, because I am convinced that God’s people are scattered amongst all these groups, and these are my brothers and sisters. But like the Protestant movement being started by Henry wanting a divorce, some of these groups were not started with the correct Godly motives at times.
Almost every year, I run into another group at the Feast of Tabernacles, keeping the same days in the same city for the same reason… why can’t we be united? There are thousands of people that I will be right next to but never meet because of petty governmental issues! This is ridiculous and cannot be justified any longer! The organization I attend has met in the same building on a Holy Day as another group, just a few rooms apart… There are thousands of people who don’t affiliate with any group, and are yet many more people striving to follow God, that I will never meet. We need each other now, more and more each day, yet we’re not allowed to be one body, as the Bible instructs us to be.
What is there to do about it? I can complain, but that’s not terribly productive. I could start a group of people who hate that there are so many groups, but that would be self-defeating, and not terribly productive. So I guess I’ll just blog about it for now, and ask that you would pray that God’s will be done, and that we shall continue to fight the good fight and strive for unity. When our generation becomes the next wave of leaders in the Churches of God, I pray that we would have a more concentrated effort on breaking down the unnecessary walls of separation and fulfill Christ’s new commandment – to love on another! [John 13:34, 35: I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another]
“If you want the short answer, here it is: Love. This is our utmost command and the we are especially called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ (Jesus says that they should recognize us as Christians by the way we love each other).Divisions in the Church do pose a small problem to this command . But, “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8)- and in this case we’re not even necessarily talking about sins, just differences (and maybe some sins…?)”
We are told that at the end times, “many will be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another. And many false prophets will rise and deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will become cold” But he who endures to the end, the same shall be kept safe. [Matthew 24:10-13 ] People are gonna start to be not-so-nice to loved ones, but we still need to show love and try to combat this.
I don’t know what could be done… I pray that God will work things out according to His plan, and that we as the body of believers can better follow commands of unity, fellowship, and brotherly love. I look forward to a time when everyone who is left of all the nations which came up against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Jehovah of Hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. [Zech 14:16]
Peace be with you,
your brother in Christ,