Opinions, everyone has one
Especially when it comes to how the church goes about its business. There is the old saying that ‘you can’t please everyone’ and that saying has been a thorn in the church’s side for millennia.
The church can’t please everyone for even the church is divided about how it should go about its business. Over the past 2,000 years the church in many denominations and special groups have strayed from the disciples’ teaching, a requirement if they want unity in the church
These denominations and para church organizations, usually state they feel the leading of God yet that leading seems to take them out from under the authority of the church allowing them to preach a gospel that is altered from the days of Jesus.
We are not following the example set
The book of Acts tells us that even in their social work, the early church was of one mind. There was no dividing of the church’s ministry between evangelistic efforts and meeting the needs of the people.
Acts 4:32 to the end tells us this:
And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.
36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of [ab]Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Physical needs of the church were not left for someone else to do. Yet today, meeting the needs of the believer is placed on a low priority level behind so many other church programs and events.
This is one of the reasons why so many people do not go to church. Their personal experience with churches and believers has not been that great. I remember a youth pastor friend of mine who was helping out in their church’s food bank.
He told me of the occasion when a couple of men came n to get some food. It may have been for their families, I do not recall, but when they were denied, the men went away cursing.
Their words and actions justified in the food bank helpers’ minds that they did the right thing but not sharing food with this unbelieving men. Instead of planting or watering seeds in those men, that experience made it more difficult to reach those men for Christ.
While we cannot always give of what we have, we can help people meet their needs through a variety of ways that follow the example given to us in Acts.
Compassion is not blind
Many church members want the government and others to exercise compassion when illegal immigrants try to breech the borders of a variety of nations. Unfortunately, blind compassion is not the answer here.
For the church to have unity, all of its members must put all biblical teaching into practice and supplement their compassion with other biblical attributes. Compassion needs help for if done wrongly it can open their fellow citizens up to harm.
Compassion needs wisdom to guide it; understanding to help find the right solution, knowledge to implement those solutions as well as a little justice and mercy thrown in.
Biblical compassion does not exclude these attributes because it needs to see the needs of its own citizens at the same time. Compassion is not a one way street and if the church wants unity, then it needs to practice the right kind of compassion when illegals try to undermine the laws of a given nation and strip it of its resources for their selfish use.
The resources of a nation must be given to its on people as well.
The Church’s unity goal
It is hard to achieve when so many people find theological, doctrinal, and practical differences between each other. But those did not exist in the early church. Acts 2:42 tells us that the new converts were dedicated to the disciples’ teachings.
If you go through those teachings, you will see that a number of modern issues were not taught by Jesus’ apostles. Even though a woman may have helped teach Apollos, we can be rest assured that Priscilla did not violate scripture in her efforts.
They followed the teachings of the apostles which were the words of Christ given to him by his Father. The apostles may not have taught house churches were they only way to go, it may have been the only venue open to them at that time.
We do not know as the Bible does not say where the early church met to worship God. What we do know is that when the early believers worshiped God it was after the manner of the apostle’s teaching which had no new age or other alternative, innovative, or creative influence from the secular world involved.
It was pure, holy worship from people humble and grateful to be saved from sin.
For the church to be unified today
It has to put down the pursuit of their own ideas, their pursuit of sin, and its inclusion in its ranks and get back to basics. It has to get back to the disciples teachings which lead believers to meet all the needs, both spiritual and physical of their fellow converts.
Then, the church needs to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to make sure it gets on the right path to unity and show the secular world that there is a God who cares about them.
© 2019 David Thiessen