Many people lament all the denominational differences there are in the Protestant Church. I’ve always seen the issue in much the same manner as sports fans. There are billions of sports fans, but not all of them love the same sport. Humans by nature are marvellously diverse and the Bible reflects this diversity. So when you think about, it’s no wonder that some aspects of our Lord’s message resonate with this person more than it does with that person.
Of course, the difference between religion and sports is that while sometimes fans of rival teams will pound on each other and every once in awhile some fans get killed, few mountain climbers would be willing to do battle with a football fan over which is the correct sport to take part in. Few who enjoy swimming would chastise those who sky-dive for choosing the wrong sport. Sadly, this nonsense is a common trait of those who take religion seriously. The most tolerant among us are those who don't seriously believe anything.
Having said that, it seems to me that there are a few things that are unquestionable regarding Church life and the rest should be left to personaltaste.
. Any Unity in the Church must be based upon the Life and Teachings of Jesus. Without the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, there is no Christianity.
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
That Christ died for our sins according to Scripture (Isaiah 53)
That He was buried
That He was raised on the third day according to Scripture
- 1st Corinthians 15:3,4
The Church must exist to preach the good news of Jesus’ salvation and to glorify Him who saved us.
. Any Unity in the Church must be based upon Love for the lost and for each other. “The Church builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:16. This of course is much easier said than done. Generations of bitterness and resentments accompany most people as they enter the Christian walk. Dying to self is for most people their Mount Everest. Those who wish to reserve a small space for Jesus in their lives, those who wish to wear Jesus as an accessory to their secular world-view or secular life-style will never learn to walk the walk.
. Any Unity in the Church must be based upon Truth. Christians from around the world have accepted doctrinal creeds as summaries of Biblical truth. The earliest is the one I quoted above from 1st Corinthians 15. To stand upon truth, and Jesus IS Truth, the Church must be built upon the teachings of Jesus and those whom He taught, the apostles. The Bible itself must be held as the absolute measure of truth. Scripture should interpret itself in conformity to context. Personal insights and experiences must summit to Scripture for authenticity. Revelation from God is closed.
The Joseph Smiths and Mohammeds of the world must be seen as frauds and hucksters but after that, enjoy Jesus' love forever and ever
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2,3.