I don’t ‘get it’. I don’t understand the many labels of Christianity. That’s not entirely true. I understand there ARE millions of labels for denomination, affiliation, worship, etc. What I don’t understand is the absolute loss of cohesion and unity in this effort to focus on the differences for names sake.
I was recently reading something about the ‘missional church’ and how new visitors are sometimes expecting a contemporary church and find something much different at a missional church. I got to thinking about what it all means. As of 1980, according to one researcher, there are over 20,000 different Christian denominations.
I read the “Bible for Dummies’ some time ago and it stated within 3 years of Jesus’ death and resurrection, there were already over 900 different ‘cults’ (the book used this word to identify separation from Jesus’ original message as taught by the disciples) solely because of misunderstanding what was taught.
I had a pastor preach about gifts once and I think it could actually have a more global application. His catchphrase was: “Same goal, different roles.” Maybe that’s it. Maybe we remain so inwardly focused on our role individually or our role as a church, that we lose the universal and Biblical GOAL as focus.
There are a few (and by a few I mean thousands) of words that could seem a bit more ‘role focus’ than ‘goal focus’ when it comes to sharing Christ with others. Some of these words are so misunderstood they shouldn’t be used. These include, but are most certainly not limited to:
Abba Abrahamic Absolution Advent Agape Amen Anagogy Animism Annunciation Anabaptist Antibaptist Antichrist Babel Baptism Beget Blasphemy Canon Catechism Celibrant Chalice CHRISTIAN Communion Decalog Deist Dogma Ecclesiology Emerging Church Evangelical Fundamentalist Gentile Gnosticism Gospel Illuminati Inclusivism Koinonia Liberal Christianity Liturgy Logos Mainstream Manicheanism Mennonites Naturalism Neo-orthodoxy New Covenant Theology Occult The 3-O’s Opus Dei (except from DaVinci Code) Pantheon Parousia Parthenogenesis Pentecost Pluralism Polemics Polytheist Post Modern Post Millennialism Quaker Rapture Rationalism Religion Rhema Sacraments Sanctification Secular Theist Transfiguration Unitarian Voluntarism Worship Yahweh Zealots… found here…
Trust me when I say; there are very few new Christians or non-Christians who would tolerate the use of these words without clear understanding. What’s the point of adopting a ‘theology’ without understanding what you’re adopting? I didn’t express an interest to learn more, until I understood what was being said.
Do you know the origin of your particular denomination? Do you know the theology of your church, or your pastor? Do they align? Do you know the beliefs of the person you sit by in church…or any of the people in your church? How much does it matter?
I sense a real need for unity and have for some time. For some reason, what I’ve read lately really has me wondering if it’s possible, and if I’ll see it in my lifetime. In the spirit of Thomas…I doubt it.
Just pondering…on this leg of my journey.