Day 3 - A United Family of God
1 How wonderful and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony!
2 For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil
that was poured over Aaron’s head,
that ran down his beard
and onto the border of his robe.
3 Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon
that falls on the mountains of Zion.
And there the LORD has pronounced his blessing,
even life everlasting.
The previous day's lesson looked at unity in the family. Today the lesson expands into unity within the Church. This is not only within your local church, but the whole Church, the entire body of Christ.
I have often wondered what is the difference between all the Christian denominations and why there are so many. If we are all Christians then why are there so many different kinds of churches. It seem that Christians have broken off into so many different directions and denominations that the Church as a whole is confused and even some important, fundamental doctrines are not common among them. These differing beliefs have caused Christians to fight with Christians. The unity we are called to uphold is destroyed.
A couple of quotes from the lesson:
"Christ wants believers to be one: black, brown, or white. Charismatic or noncharismatic. Calvinist or Arminian. Southern Baptist or Freewill Baptist."
"Jesus' kind of unity doesn't exist until two people stand shoulder to shoulder who before stood sword to sword...Let's love each other when we wouldn't even like each other."
The lesson had an exercise in thinking about differing issues of various churches. Which issues are nonnegotiable fundamental doctrine and what are some issues that are varying between denominations. I thought of a few and then did an internet search. I was surprised at some of the real differences when I looked closely at this document that compares many denominational beliefs.
For example, I assumed that believing in the Inerrancy of the Bible was a solid foundational doctrine - well, not according to 2 of the 7 denominations compared. There was also one that views Satan metaphorically, one that does not entirely believe in eternal hell, 2 that believe it is possible to lose salvation, and 1 that believes that salvation can be found outside Christianity!
Satan is winning and we need to fight back!