This entry comes from Dan at the geographically specific The Ekklesia in Southern Maine and is titled Unity in my Terms. Dan looks at the idea of unity in the Body and how most of us think of unity as other Christians coming to agree with me.
It is not enough to say I seek unity with all fellow believers in Christ, but to only connect myself with those who see unity and see the church the way that I do. I can clearly see that I have much to learn about love, Christian fellowship, and unity from fellow believers, both inside and outside of my own understanding of the church.
This is a hard one, especially for those who have come to see institutional Christianity as contra-Biblical or those of us who subscribe to Reformed theology and see non-Reformed Christians as second-class citizens in the Kingdom. I loved this post and the comments that followed. Dan's wife Stephanie posted this great comment:
If we’re going to BE the Church, then we have to tear down the walls we’ve built. We have to wash the bitter taste from our mouths and LOVE our brothers and sisters regardless of our beliefs or interpretations of scripture. Our SOLE focus should be Christ and our goal should be growing in Christ together.
Here is what I wrote in reply to the post:
Of course unity means changing your mind and method to agree with me. For others, divisions within the church actually help our unity as unfathomable as that might seem. The hard part is that Biblical unity means that we may not always get our way, in fact it might mean that we never get our way. Our reward then comes not from winning people to our way but just fellowship itself. It is hard indeed to see unity as something that might mean that I have to make all of the sacrifices instead of the other guy sacrificing for me. The mindset of “unity through doctrinal conquest” is a strong one among my fellow Reformed believers and man is it a hard mindset for me to get out of!
Good topic, good conversation. Unity with other Christians is predicated on the Gospel!