Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
They’ve asked the question quite a few times. I used to ask it too. If we are interested in Christian unity, why would we worry about a specific denomination? Isn’t “Christian” enough? Or we might put it this way. “If a church claims that it believes the Bible, isn’t it all right?”
In Ephesians 4:25 the apostle Paul speaks of putting away falsehood. That statement is dependent on the sentence which comes before it. We put away falsehood by being renewed, like God. In short, we allow God to change us from our old self to a new self, created in Christ, as his righteous child.
This is going to be a very particular kind of change. It is a particular identity. It doesn’t come from our ideas or from some community idea of morality. It comes from the Word of God working in us.
The questions about specific denomination are often driven by a goal of unification. All Christians should be able to get along together. I actually agree with that statement. But what is it predicated on? It is predicated on the idea that Christianity is a very particular thing which all Christians should agree about. Why do we have disagreements about matters of theology? Because one or more party to the disagreement is wrong.
The goal of Christian debate and discussion is to bring clarity to the issues involved in doing theology, understanding the implications of Christianity. How does the Scripture require us to think? How does the Scripture require us to live? What does it mean to put away falsehood and be “created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”?
When we decide that what you believe is a matter of little or no consequence, we say that God’s Word doesn’t matter. I once had an interaction with a Christian leader in a movement with which I was involved. I was in a position of leadership, but as I was coming to a clearer understanding of their statement of faith, I was finding myself in disagreement with it. The organization went through a multi-year process of clarifying their statement of faith. One of the areas which I thought was not a matter of essential doctrine was reaffirmed by them. I spoke with the higher up leadership, who told me that it didn’t really matter that much, they wanted me to remain involved. My response was that if the essential doctrinal statement which they were reaffirming as essential didn’t actually matter, I couldn’t remain involved in good conscience.
Biblical doctrine matters. When will we find unity? When we are able to work through those doctrinal issues and come to the same understanding of the truth. It does matter.
Friends, we have a lot of substantive discussion that really needs to happen. Let’s get cooking!
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