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The Christian Identity Crisis: A World Without Denominations

So how is it possible for Christians to unify under one doctrine for complete unity? Some may ask this question with little hope that it can be done or should happen. For those who follow the blog, we know that it should be done from Jesus’ prayer and out of obedience to God’s will. I have the confidence and faith that it can be done through the Holy Spirit coupled with our obedience. But back to the question of how this is possible. The most logical way to do this is by:

  •  First, creating a tight bond of love among Christians (This step seems easy, but as we learned from the last post it may not be) This will create genuine care for our community and a motive for closer association with all members of the Christian community.
  • Second, encouraging a loving and respectful discussion about doctrine in relation to scripture. This dialogue needs to happening in the laity as well as  among clergy and pastors.
  • A list needs to be compiled with churches and doctrines that appear to align with the Bible. Afterwards, the small differences need to all be noted to see if there are overlapping or replicated denominations because I’m betting some of the 1,5000 are redundant.
  • Then the denomination slashing needs to begin. This stage will continue until we compile a comprehensive doctrine backed by scripture and based on truth and by eliminating denominations and doctrines established primarily on minor preferences. This will take guidance from the Holy Spirit, prayer, and faith.

SAY WHAT? You were probably following along until I suggested slaying your denomination. But what about my church’s history and our beloved traditions? You know who else asked those questions and missed out on a great opportunity? The Pharisees. So yes, I am suggesting that you be open to surrendering your current identity. This should all be easy if we were truly following the first step and loving our brothers and sisters as we love ourselves.

You may be wondering what love has to do with with doctrine. We love to use the expression that someone is like family whenever we feel close to them. By family, we mean people that we want to be affiliated with and want others to know are of great significance to us. Family shares a last name (for the most part). How weird would it look for a loving, loyal family to all choose different last names for themselves and take pride in their independence from one another? In a sense, this is what denominationalism is like. The closer to get to someone the more you want to identify your loyalty to them. I have come to realize when you finally get to this point of love with a variety of God’s people the term Christian is not enough; it is the only label that should be used to link us. It is the family name, not Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Pentecostal, Calvinist, Fundamentalist, Episcopalian, Church of Christ, or AME. For Paul says:

12 Now this I say, that every one of you said, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:12-13)

But It can also read:

12 Now this I say, that every one of you said, I am of John Calvin; and I of John Smyth; and I of John Wesley; and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ divided? Was John Calvin crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of John Smyth?

Yep, unity means surrendering your histories and some of your traditions based on man. It means having an identity crisis until our family comes together in love and loyalty. Some may feel that it is better to agree to disagree. If you feel that way, please browse the Bible verse section. My intent is not to criticize anything but our disobedience as Christians and to encourage us to love and be one body as Christ calls us, not the universal lie as we claim to be (view this argument in the previous posts).

It is okay to enter a love spurred identity crisis. I’m in one now as I review doctrines and worship with my brothers and sisters whose churches I never dared to enter when they weren’t apart of my denomination.

The only identity I have now is Christian. That is the way it should be.

“Challenging you to be challenged by God”

L.M.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I like your analogy of a family sharing the same last name of Christian. I have considered myself non-denominational most of my life and was raised in/attended churches from multiple denominations.I always see other Christians as Christians alone and not defined by denomination. Yes, there are clear doctrinal differences that need to be dealt with; however, we are all the same, Christ-followers! I hate that the more minor doctrinal differences can be so divisive. That being said, I also find so much beauty in the individuality found among the different denominations and church service styles- such a reflection of God’s creativity in His design. And like you, I am currently amidst investigation of which of the “minor” doctrines should be the universal doctrine, or at least the doctrines (and denomination) that I practice until said universal doctrine comes to be. Anyway, to circle back to my original comment- I agree that we are one family identified by the same last name with the same purpose of glorifying God and spreading the Good News. It’s a great perspective that I wish was held by more.

    July 30, 2013
    • It is inspiring to hear that other Christians think this way. It is my goal to encourage this thinking and love in the Christian community. Thanks for sharing!

      July 30, 2013

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