I am a spiritual mut. I grew up attending Catholic and Assembly of God churches, and am now serving in a Free Methodist Church. My experience in these different faith traditions has given me a passion for unity among Christians. It astounds me that Christians spend more time arguing about the five percent of beliefs they disagree on instead of focusing on the ninety-five percent they do agree on.
Doctrines and beliefs are important. They are what give a belief system its flavor. Some doctrines are non-negotiable. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and a part of the Trinity. No question about that. If you call yourself a Christian, you must believe these core truths. On the other hand, how and when we baptize people and how we interpret Scripture differ depending on our faith tradition.
Instead of celebrating these differences and realizing unity does not equal uniformity, we let them divide us. We spend so much time trying to be right and aligned with the truth of doctrines that we forget Truth is more than a doctrine, it is a Person.
“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus Christ is the way to the Father, the Truth that transforms, and the life that satisfies.
We see Truth as concrete. Something immovable and absolute. And it is. But it is not a piece of paper with doctrinal treaties, it is the Person of Jesus Christ. I wonder what would change about our interactions with each other as Christians if we realized this fact. What unites us is not agreeing on everything. What unites us is agreeing on one thing…that Truth is a Person, and if we all follow that Person, we can be united under Him.
Speaking of this unity, the Apostle Paul said, “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (Ephesians 4:15-16).
In order to grow together as followers of Jesus Christ, we must start by speaking the truth in love. This means saying the hard things to one another out of a heart of love. We all see glaring hypocrisies in each other. Instead of ignoring them, let’s call them out and then intentionally help each other grow in every way more and more like Christ. As we surrender to Christ and become more like Him, He unites us and fits us together. The parts of the Body do not grow by pointing out the wrong ways the other parts are moving, they grow by effectively accomplishing the work they are called to do. As they focus on their own work, they automatically help the other parts grow.
If the Body of Christ operates in this way, it will be healthy, growing and full of love.