Uniformity vs Unity in the Universal Church

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Barring illness or travel you will find me in the same place the first Wednesday of every month at noon; a corner table in a local Mexican restaurant having lunch with a group of local pastors (and one semi-retired missions worker), having fellowship and talking through some of the difficult issues of ministry. We meet together because we are like minded. We share core beliefs about the authority of scripture, the exclusivity of Christ, gospel urgency and the sovereignty of God in salvation. We have tremendous unity.

But the group is not uniform. There is a pastor of a “capital R” Reformed church (you can tell who he is by the Banner of Truth shirt and beard he sports), there is a GARB pastor (The General Association of Regular Baptists tend to focus more on eschatology than I would, and a little closer to Fundamentalism than I am), a couple of TMS grads (who have some differences too), and of course the semi-retired missions worker who is decidedly non-concerned about non-essential issues (and he might define that a little more broadly than I would).… Continue reading

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Unity & Uniformity in the Local Church

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In yesterday’s helpful post Uniformity or Unity, Jason unearthed an important issue for every Christian to consider; exposing what I agree is a common tendency among Christians to equate unity with uniformity.

Truth be told, I have never met a Christian who denied the importance of unity among Christians.  Unity seems to be one of those things that all Christians see as important.  Yet, I agree with Jason that the picture of unity that many Christians are striving for includes all kinds of requirements that Scripture itself does not prioritize and ultimately amounts to a community of people that look and think almost entirely alike. … Continue reading

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Uniformity or Unity

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Sometimes I wonder what kind of unity uniformity people are looking for in Christendom? Our Lord desires us to be unified (Ephesians 4:1-16). Has His desire been twisted in our approach and mindset so that we really define unity as uniformity? Let’s be honest, there are different circles in this world of Christians with different preferences, approaches, and theological convictions. There is the Charismatic, Baptist, Bible, Presbyterian, and Lutheran circle, to just name a tiny iota. Worship music and liturgy preferences define another group of circles. Now with these differences and the call to unity, how do we navigate these waters?… Continue reading

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Bearing Grief through Truth and Worship

We all—hundreds of us—asked God for something good: a baby’s life. Something that would give us an opportunity to magnify his mercy and exalt Jesus together as a church family. Instead, he let baby Tahlia die just a few hours after she was born. Instead of a telling miracle story, we are grieving with our friends who have been left with empty arms.

Every grief is different, and it’s usually unfair to compare one loss with another. But most people seem to acknowledge that grief over a lost baby is in a special category.

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Reprise: A Gospel Conversation

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Oh NoThe adult Sunday School Class at the local church I serve has recently taken up the topic of evangelism. In this class we are all seeking to better understand the concept of evangelism and what it is as well as what it is not. During the first part of our study of this topic we are focusing on answering the question “What is the Gospel?” by utilizing the book of the same name authored by Greg Gilbert (reviewed here). As part of this endeavor each week we look to provide biblical answers to questions which arise from our study. This week part of the assignment is to answer a series of questions which explain to whom man is accountable, what is the chief problem facing man, what is the solution to this problem as provided by God, and finally how do we respond to this information.Continue reading

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