Friday, April 18, 2008
39,000 Piece Puzzle
A small town near my brother's home has 3 Reformed churches. First Reformed, Second Reformed and "Smalltown" Reformed. This town has a population of about 1,800, why do they need 3 Reformed churches??? Could they differ that much in doctrine??? Can't they see how much more effective they would be if they joined together??? It used to really, really bother me.
The standard answer as to why there are so many denominations/congregations is that satan creates strife to prevent the work of the Kingdom from being accomplished. We get caught up in whatever little soap opera is going on around us in the congregation and take our eyes and minds off of Christ Jesus. It happens over and over.
I don't know why Smalltown has 3 Reformed churches. Maybe there were very significant disagreements over doctrine. Maybe there were issues with the character of the pastor. I can only guess. What I do know for sure is that Christ is victorious no matter how many denominations or congregations are formed. The work of the Kingdom continues to be carried on and, in the case of Smalltown, they have 3 Reformed churches carrying on the mission - preaching the Word, baptizing, sharing communion, praying, worshiping and praising! Alleluia!!
According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity there are 39,000 Christian sects in the world today. That's an awful lot of people I have to convince that I am right. ;-)
What I am trying to say is that if you are looking for the differences you will easily find them. It takes real skill to find the similarities - and to see the whole picture. Like the stained glass image of Jesus, it takes many pieces to make the whole. The Lord will sort it out in the end (Matthew 13:47-50).