Christians under persecution around the world don’t have the luxury of owning their own complete Bible in many cases, don’t have time or opportunity to be discipled, never learn any of the finer points that we in the ‘West’ spend so much time bickering over and pontificating. The persecuted church is single-focused, on Jesus as their only hope and lifeline. Their faith can be “as a child,” and it is enough. (Mark 10:15)
So why do we get so detailed and nit picky over doctrine and style? Why can’t universal unity be achieved?
Luke 12:48 – “Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more.”
We have the full Gospel, and we have time to read it, understand it, share it, teach it. We also have the enemy’s attention, vying for our minds and doctrine, so we have to protect ourselves. There are many false doctrines and dogmas of man that have infiltrated the [C]hurch. Wrong ideas, bad theology, misunderstood concepts are commonplace, and because we have the luxury of resources, time, and platform, we have a responsibility to figure things out, get it right, and help others do the same.
Matthew 7:14 – “Narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and FEW find it.”
Because of pride, tradition, laziness, stubbornness – corporate unity remains elusive, but that is not an excuse to compromise or sacrifice depth for universalism. In the coming months, you’ll see major Christian leaders making surprising alliances in the name of “unity,” in fact, many already have, but beware. Universalism is not unity in the sense that Christ is returning for “one Bride.” Universalism is the false idea that the gate swings wide and the road is paved with neon signs leading to life and that pretty much everyone will find it. Their narrow-minded concept of God as only loving and not just is leading many to hell.
You’re going to hear the word “universal” more and more even in evangelical circles, as the emergent church movement embraces the unbiblical idea that there really is no hell, and that in the end, God in his infinite mercy and love will pardon all souls. The use of the term, “Christian Universalism” will become more popular even as some attempt to redefine it or hide its true meaning, but don’t be deceived – it is not a move to bring unity to the Body of Christ, but to pervert the gospel and make salvation through Jesus Christ in this life unnecessary, thus creating a false unity not only among Christian denominations, but any cult and religion in the world. “Oprah-style” if you will. “All roads lead to heaven.” Which they don’t. This idea has been around for a LONG time, but has been largely rejected as the heresy that it is, however, modern relative truth adherents are moving it from the unaccepted fringe to the embraced inner circles.
The idea that unity is more desirable than holiness is another layer of this concept, and is leading many evangelical leaders to strike strange alliances and compromise on what used to be considered basic tenets of Biblical Christianity.
It doesn’t matter how many denominations and sects join hands – because Jesus isn’t coming back for a denomination or sect anyway. OUT of the [C]hurch, the Bride will rise. Read Revelation chapters two and three – you’ll see that only two churches get an unblemished report – the persecuted (2:8-11), and the faithful (3:7-13). The rest are riddled with issues, and Jesus tells them that only the victor will be blessed – those from within the churches who repent, take responsibility, and follow Christ alone.
Take responsibility for your own faith and Biblical knowledge. Read your Bible for yourself – devour it as if tomorrow it will be taken away from you. Stop trusting that your church affiliation is enough to secure your eternity, and invest in your relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer and obedience to His Word.
No pastor, author, mega-conference-super-speaker, priest, pope, or dead saint is worth your adoration and confidence. When you put anyone on a pedestal, all they can do is fall, and they will. Don’t be surprised – and don’t waste breath defending or justifying them when they do, just keep your eyes on Jesus and maintain your own faith. Influence those around YOU with the full Gospel of Christ and rescue who you can.
The unity that Christ desires and will reward is not on paper, or sealed with handshakes. It is unity because of Himself – through Himself. We don’t have to vie for superficial appearances of unity, because if we are all individually remaining in Jesus, cultivating our personal relationships with Him, reading, memorizing, and applying the Word to our lives, then a natural unity occurs. We become drawn to others who are as passionate as we are, living holy lives as we are, and the differences that are left become inconsequential. That’s unity in Christ, that’s how the Bride will emerge. Not from one denomination or one group of sects…but individuals within them. People who know Jesus, and follow His Way, keeping their doctrine pure so they can stay on the narrow path.
Jude 20-22 – “But you, dear friends, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. Have mercy on some who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fires; on others have mercy in fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”
James 5:19 – “My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, he should know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins.”
2 Timothy 4:3-5 – “For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will accumulate teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, keep a clear head about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”