Did you know that there are close to 37,000 separate Christian bodies according to the World Christian database?? 37,000!! Am I the only person who finds this odd?
Perhaps it shouldn't be as shocking to me.
I find it interesting that we, as believers, are charged with the same mission of Christ, yet we can't agree on His vision?
What's even more amazing is that this division is not new to the church. Way back in the bible days Paul wrote to the church of the New Testament, and addressed this very issue.
If you look at this data, and the very nature of man, I wonder if division is unavoidable. Have we grown so accustomed to division that unity is unattainable?
I promise I won't get all super deep on you today. (I don't have my theology degree just yet..lol)
Funny story: Growing up I was raised in the Pentecostal Apostolic denomination. I didn't really know what that meant but I knew that when someone asked "What kind of Church is this?" you'd better respond with, " IT'S A SANCTIFIED CHURCH....it's a hand clapping, foot stomping, tongue talking, Holy Ghost, SANCTIFIED Church..." (LOL)...if you grew up churchy then you probably know this song well...if you're feeling lost here's a sample of what I'm talking about...
At the time I found this normal. I actually grew up to believe that my views were right and any other interpretation was wrong. It wasn't directly said, but the "call out" of songs like "What kind of church is THIS...", helped solidify the notion of superiority over other churches. Meaning that if I didn't see...hand clapping, foot stomping, tongue talking... people in the church, then that church was not "sanctified".
Others might disagree with my interpretation of the song, but the division of the church, even in the bible, points to this same idea. My point is that division has been engraved in a lot of us since we were children. To be perfectly honest, I didn't know there were so many variations of Christianity until I went away to college. And when I heard of the different denominations, I silently prayed for the "non-believers" without ever sitting down to engage in dialogue with them.
I find this to be the case for many Christians today. When was the last time you engaged in a healthy dialogue with someone who didn't agree with you? It's ok if you can't remember, honestly, most people would rather not engage in dialogue about someone else's faith, because they barely understand their own. How can we deal with the division in the church, when most, have yet to deal with the division in their own body?
There is no easy fix to these issues. Most people have given up, "working out their own salvation", and decided to focus on someone else's, because it's easier to throw stones (divide), than it is to gather them (unite).
We are in a time where the gathering of stones will be crucial to our success. I pray we find the strength to hold it together.