preacherman

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We Are All ONE in Christ Jesus

"For It is by grace that you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves. It is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast." Eph 2:8-9

"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew or Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are of Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Gal.3:26-29

If Paul was writing to believers today do he'd might possibly write, "There is neither Church of Christ or Baptist, Pentecostal nor Methodist, Lutheran nor countless other names or labels, for you are ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS." What do you think?

What makes us one in Christ is it faith, grace or something else? Are all believers one in Christ through faith? Why don't all denominations see other believers that aren't apart of their denomination as one? Is it possible for all denominations to have a oneness or commonality with each other? Is unity with other denominations and believers possible within your denomination? What things need to change in order for oneness to occur? What can you do to help other believers understand the oneness that all believers share through faith in Christ Jesus? What could get done or be accomplished in the advancement of Christianity if all denominations came together as one, understanding who they truly are in Christ Jesus?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

27 Comments:

Blogger Kansas Bob said...

Here is one of my favorite quotes:

"In essentials, unity; in differences, liberty; in all things, charity. -- Philipp Melanchthon"

Having this attitude helps me loving and relating to parts of the body of Christ.

11:57 AM  
Blogger reborn1995 said...

it's a lovely idea, but i don't see how practical unity is possible without a greater degree of consensus. It's the same story as the mainstream CoC's and the Anti's. If the anti's deep in the pit of their gut think it's wrong (say) to use multiple cups for communion, then how can we expect them to worship with a multiple cup congregation? Maybe the mainstream church gives up their use of multiple cups for the sake of unity? Maybe the one-cup church gives up their belief for the sake of unity?

So for unity to occur, either some people embrace more doctrinal distinctives, or others give up their doctrinally distinctive convictions. (But even then, not all doctrinal distinctives are compatible.) How else can it be done? Why option should we favor and why?

--Guy

2:09 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Kinney,
Amen.

You're hitting on it in your post. Our oneness is in Jesus Christ himself. And everything we're united in flows from that. The good news is centered in Jesus himself. When that is true and we recognize it, then we can love and will temper our differences with that love, because it is centered in and comes out from Jesus.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Royce Ogle said...

Ted you are exactly correct. The failure to have unity is a failure to be centered on Jesus and what he has done to save sinners. Everything else is "uniformity" and not unity.

Royce

10:29 PM  
Blogger reborn1995 said...

But that seems oversimplified. Certain people believe that certain beliefs or practices *constitute* being centered on Jesus. Just to say if we all centered on Jesus that would solve everything overlooks the fact that not everyone agrees on what that means and what that obligates us to do. You can say, "well, being centered on Jesus and what's He's done means such and such." But as soon as you commit yourself to a position, there will be others that disagree; and then you really haven't gotten out of the problem at all. What you're still alluding to is some degree of "uniformity" or consensus is necessary.

--Guy

10:45 PM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

Got to thinking about this and remembered how, for about 10 years, we had a nondenom bible study at work with about 10-15 folks. The group included Catholics, Baptists, Charismatics, Lutherans, Methodists and others. We simply read the bible and talked about it over lunch once a week. There was a great solidarity and unity of spirit there. We seldom argued but focused mainly on encouraging each other and sharing our views of the scriptures. It was a very positive experience.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Gary Cleveland said...

Kinney,

You put Jesus at the center of your thoughts and I think this is what lies at the core of fellowship and unity. As I see it, unity can be celebrated with all believers in Christ on at least some level. I have participated in several Promise Keepers events and similar gatherings. Even though I know there are myriads of beliefs among the participants on a multiplicity of issues, we decide, at least in these blessed moments, to lay everything aside except the recognition of faith in Jesus as the risen Son of God. What results is unity and fellowship. While it still leaves something to be desired....that is just it... There is more to be desired. If we can just build on that desire, then maybe more will result.

I thank God for you and your passion for Jesus and his people. Your encouraging words are not lost. It was great to hear from you recently.

For Jesus,
Gary

11:26 PM  
Anonymous laymond said...

Kinney. nearly every comment here says we should be centered on Jesus, and I agree, and what is it that Jesus is said to be? The Word, in the flesh, and what word is that? The Word of God. It always comes back to God/ The Creator, doesn't it.It is a little deeper than just thinking on one event in Jesus earthly existence.

8:17 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Kansas Bob,
Thank you so much brother for sharing your thoughts and expereinces with us. I know that I have enjoyed bible studies and pastor meetings with others from numereous denominations. It was a time of encouragement. We focused on Christ, prayer, encouraging each other.

I believe that for unity to occur we must focus on Christ. We must focus on our similarities rather than our differences. Priase God for those times of fellowship that buid our faith with other believers. Thanks again for sharing your encouraging advice with us all.

10:07 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Reborn 1995,
Thanks for your thoughts and opinions on this subject. I understand where you are comming from and the points you make. Again let me stress that I believe we should focus on similarities rather than differences. I think believers whether it be church of Christ, baptist, Methodist, or countless others must first have the essential doctrine of love above all things. Love. Where is the love with churches who refuse to fellowship with others because they don't do it the way they want? Love. Paul stesses this essential doctrine of first importance. If we have faith that can move mountains, if we even die for christ, but have not love it means nothing. It is pointless. Meaningless. We as believers must strive to love all. We must put differences aside for the sake of love. We must do whatever it takes, getting out of our comfort zones, stop focusing on the petty stuff or self-righteousness mindsets that dominate many believers for the sake of love and unity. We must be the ones to answer the prayer that Christ prayed in the garden. We must strive to be ONE.

10:15 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Ted,
Thanks for your comments. I greatly appreciate your thoughts any time. I love the point you make that Christ is and should be the focus. I totally agree the good news is totally focused on Jesus Christ himself. Many believers think the good news is sharing what they particularly believe or doctrinal practice. We must remember again that it isn't anything that we as believers or a particular denominational church has done to be saved...It is faith in CHRIST JESUS. Wonderful news that I couldn't do it myself. Wonderful news of a God who loved me, you, every believer, non-believer that he would be willing to allow His only son to die. What love and grace! What good news! Thank you Ted for your comments. They are always welcome brother.

10:20 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Royce,
Thanks for your thoughts as well. I want you to know that you are such a blessing to me and countless other bloggers.

I love what you said about everything else is "uniformity" and not unity. It is said when believers confuse the two. I hope and pray that all believers will come to know the difference and put "uniformity" aside for the sake of unity.

10:26 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Gary,
Wonderful words brother of how fellowship has encouraged you. I agree with you that unity can be celebrated with all believers. Yes, we must decide to lay aside our difference on the multiplicity of issues for the sake of unity. We must celebrate our similarities. Our faith in Christ Jesus. I believe that focusing on the multiplicity of issues has caused so much division and even hatred towards certain denominational groups. We must understand the love and grace of God. Praise God that it isn't up to us who is saved and who isn't! I know I'm glad it isn't up to me. Thanks again Gary. Love for you to share your thoughts and comments with us anytime.

10:33 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Laymond,
You are right.
We must focus on God and Christ. Desire to read, study, meditate on the Word. I believe every believer shoud strive and desire it. I have had some incedible bible studies from countless other denomination groups. It is so encouraging when the word of God is read, studied and we want to know Christ more. Thanks for sharing with us brother.

10:38 PM  
Blogger cwinwc said...

"Unity in Christ." Jesus prayed for it and we "should" strive for it but there is so much against actually having it occur on a large scale.

I think Kansas Bob hit on it when he spoke about his Bible Study at work. It is in these individual efforts that Jesus' prayer for unity can become reality in our lifetime.

Just think of our own very fractured arm of the Restoration Movement. We can't even agree to disagree with ourselves. How's that for a dog chasing it's tail.

Moreover, these individual uprising of unity can occur between individual churches of various denominations. We just held a "Fall Festival" with a non-denominational inner-city church that is not of our tribe. Our parking lot was filled with folks who can find lots of things to disagree about but we do agree on two things:

1. Jesus is Lord.
2. Our city needs Him.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

Have you heard about folks who call themselves "Christ Followers" because they don't like the word "Christian"? I wonder.. maybe we do not need another label to divide us? Maybe we should all agree to owning "Christian" instead of all of the other denominational labels that divide us?

How about you? Will you respond "Christian" the next time someone asks about your faith or will you respond with your individual flavor of the faith?

2:39 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

cwinwc,

I want to thank you for adding to this discussion brother. I agree that we should strive for unity. It occuring on a large scale is going to be extremely difficult. Yes, we within the Restoration Movement have much to work on within our Movement. It is going to take ministers, elders, deacons, countless believers working together to come to a comminality within our Movement. We have focused for so long on the non-essentials. It is time for us to move towards what truely are the core-essential doctrines of the Christian faith. We need to stress love. We see so many splits that are taking place because of peoples opinions. Most of the splits that have occured within the Restoration Movement have occured not based on any doctrinal issue but issues of uniformity. It is time to move the Restoration Church into the 21st century and strive to be what Stone, Campbell, others and mainly what Jesus wanted that is UNITY.

As a Restoration Movement if we stay on the track we have in the past we will destroy ourselves. If we are to thrive and survive we must move ahead with key essential docrines as our main focus. The key essential doctrines that all Christians have in common: Faith in Christ, Love, Hope. The greastest of these Love. I will post more on this later.

We as you mentioned should continue to work with other groups with the same commoniality:
1.Faith in Christ.
2.Our cities need Him.

Thanks again for adding to this discussion and hope you will continue to add to the continuing discussions on this issue.

9:24 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Kansas Bob,
You are totally right on track. We need to have the mindest of we aren't Church of Christ, Baptist, Methodist, etc. We are Christians. Instead of going back to the things that seperate us from each other let us have the mindest and attitude of the things we have in common and that being Christians. Imagine what we can accomplish in the name of Jesus if every believer saw and labeled themselves as Christians. Thank you so much for adding to this discussion and hope you will continue as I continue this topic.

9:27 AM  
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