Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Awful Sin of Dismembering the Body of Jesus Christ

Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). This Scripture is interpreted in various ways by different religious schools of thought today. One group is striving for total ecclesiastical union without any regard for doctrinal agreement. With them it is union at any price.

Another group believes unity is possible only on the basis of complete agreement on doctrinal and religious practices.

Then there are those who are endeavoring for unity in the Body of Christ on the basis of our oneness with Christ.

Now, organizational union is not what is meant by the spirit of unity. And, of course, this organizational union (ecumenicism) can work where Christ is considered to be only a wonderful teacher and person. To insist on the fact that He is the Virgin-born Son of God at once destroys this union.

The teaching of the Word is that by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body that is into Jesus Christ. And we are called upon by the Spirit to keep this unity in the bond of
Peace.

There are many issues on which Christians differ. Some are doctrinal and others are matters of practice. The present trend is to emphasize our differences, which has the effect of destroying the unity of Spirit. What we ought to be doing is applying Galatians 6:1 where needed and through love strive toward a proper spirit of unity in Christ.

Certain denominational differences could actually be hidden blessings. Christians tend to emphasize one or several doctrines to the exclusion of others. So, where denominations keep doctrinal truths alive, they help to keep a doctrinal balance in the churches.

On the other hand, when we tear to pieces the Body of Jesus Christ because of our differences and isolate ourselves from other believers, we do harm to the great cause of true Christian unity.

How the devil must smile at the way Christians hack away each other! Were not the name of Christ mentioned, one would think that we were in the midst of a political struggle just before election time. This is a great shame upon the church, and we will yet answer for this sin.

Here at the Broadcast, God has sent us personnel from some 25 different denominational groups to work together. We do not always see eye to eye on doctrinal matters, or on practices, but God has given a perfect unity centered about Christ and our ministry in Him. The men and women here constantly labor to keep this unity. Our people attend the different Evangelical churches of the city serving in them in various capacities. During the week, in the finest spirit of Christian unity, they work together for the propagation of the gospel by the various means that the Lord has put at our disposal at the Broadcast. I have many times praised God for this demonstration of His grace and His power in the Spirit, enabling us to keep this unity in the bond of peace.

The modern trend of exalting certain personalities and condemning other personalities is one of the basic wrongs in today’s dissecting of the Body of Jesus Christ. Every truly born-again believer, regardless of his church affiliation, is a member of the same Body of Jesus Christ of which I am a member. I often wonder, as I see what we are doing to that Body, in what way we differ from the heathen who torment various part of their bodies in a mistaken attempt to find peace for their sins. We, too, are tormenting certain members of the Body of Jesus Christ, and this leads not to peace but disharmony.

We Christians need to repent of the great sin of dismembering the Body of Jesus Christ. Then, by the grace of God, we need to seek to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We need to practice to the full the admonition found in Galatians 6:1: “Brethren if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the sprit of meekness; considering thyself, let thou also be tempted.”
                                                                                                                                                                   — Theodore H Epp