Undivided: We Go Together

Devotional

The Pleasantness of Unity


By Lisa Supp  


“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1 (NASB)


In 1054 A.D., a monumental event took place that shaped the course of the Christian church: The Great Schism. Intolerable tension arose between the church in Rome and the church in Byzantine, and the decision was made to split: one church remaining the Eastern Orthodox Church and one becoming the Roman Catholic Church. 


Centuries passed, then in 1517, a movement took place ignited by Martin Luther: the Reformation. Luther, along with other like-minded men, challenged the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church with indictments of abuse concerning unbiblical practices. While the historical applications are wildly fascinating, the spiritual implications have a more devastating punch. Enter “denominations.”


Denominations in the Christian Church are a result of the Reformation. These offshoots include Lutherans, Protestants, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. Last to branch out were non-denominational churches, Calvary Chapel being one. 


So, what’s the deal? How did 120 people gathered in one room on Pentecost turn into more than 200 distinct churches nationwide, each with their own theology and style of worship? Well, give the devil and inch and he’ll take a mile. Or perhaps denominations were allowed by God. 


Pastor Jon Courson suggests that denominations are used by God not to encourage theological unity but to inspire love. Because it’s easy to love people who think like we do and harder to love those who don’t. Frankly, if we love one another we’re going to be united. 


The devastating punch is when people of different Christian faiths combat one another with biased assumptions, harsh criticism of false teaching, and cries of heresy, thus causing rifts between families, communities, and the body of Christ. Recall the command for us to love one another as God has loved us (John 15:12), as well as walk in the light and have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7). Remember, we’re all believers in the true Jesus–we’re all His disciples.


May our discipleship not be rife with tension, but united in the gospel. For if the gospel is truthfully preached, we can rejoice (Philippians 1:18). Consider the perspective of Charles Spurgeon who said, “I bless God that there are so many denominations. If there were not men who differed a little in their creeds, we should never get as much gospel as we do. . . . God has sent different men to defend different kinds of truth, but Christ defended and preached all . . . Christ’s testimony was perfect.” 


Perfect, good, and pleasant. That’s what God beholds when He looks at different faiths coming together, serving alongside one another, and praying as one accord. He sees people dwelling in love and unity.


PAUSE: Consider the robes of righteousness and garland of praise the Lord gives us when we accept Jesus. They look no different on a Protestant than they do on a Lutheran. 


PRACTICE: Are there any outreaches in your area where denominations gather together to share the message of the gospel and pour out the love of Jesus? Consider attending one. 


PRAY: Jesus, it’s true the church has divided, evolving from what started centuries ago, but I know You are pleased when You see all Your people united under the banner of the love and truth of Jesus Christ. I ask that You would pour Your Spirit into the hearts and minds of Your people, Lord, and that a great revival would replace The Great Schism; that we who put our hope in Christ would be to the praise of Your glory. Amen.