So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith. Ephesians 4:11-13a (NIV)
Sitting in a Bible college class years ago, I listened as the pastor explained church denominations and their differences. A student interrupted his lecture to pose a question: how did people choose the right church with so many denominational differences? I knew the answer immediately—everyone should come to our nondenominational church!
The pastor paused a moment to consider, then answered quite differently than I had expected. He explained that we are sheep, and Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows exactly what we need to grow. Some need milk, some solid food—but we all need a flock and a shepherd. In His great love, He leads us where we will flourish. There is no need to feel threatened by denominational differences, and no need to fight over them. Christ Himself gave diverse gifts to equip us all for this journey of faith, to make us complete.
That class humbled me. For years I had disregarded precious portions of the body of Christ because of my preconceived notions about other churches. They could have imparted so much to my life. I had robbed them, too. It is important that a church follows the precepts found in the word of God, but the Apostle Paul’s words flooded me with conviction. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” Colossians 3:15 (NIV).
Lord, may we be one, even as You and the Father are one.
© 2013 Katherine A. Fuller