In case I haven’t said this recently, the most awesome people read and interact on this blog. (Yes, even those brothers and sisters who disagree with me.) I often get emails from people who further conversations on this blog. I usually ask if I can use their emails as “guest blogger” posts.
Recently I received an email from Hal. He sent me the email below in response to our chain blog on “City Church“. I thought you might enjoy reading what he has to say about unity among the body of Christ.
I am a believer in Memphis, Tn. I am part of a fellowship of believers here that has been meeting in homes for a while. I stumbled on your blog while reading David Roger’s [“Love Each Stone“].
For what it’s worth I’d like to testify to the fact that being part of a “city church” is truly a labor of love. Most folks just have enough stress already, and don’t want to go through the grind of worshipping with, and living with people who they either don’t like, or disagree with doctrinally. It’s just so easy to find a place that has good music, right doctrine, and something for all the kids. But for the few of us who are a little weird and know Christ has asked much more of us than that, well, we persevere at all costs.
After you’ve gotten to know a brother well enough to hate him, and can still wash his feet with joy, there you have the church. We are not called to be over one another, but under.(Luke22:24-27) If you can get strong willed men whose minds are made up about the church together, with completely different stances or views on the scripture, and watch them submit to each other, you will have men you can trust and love.
Most of what I’ve read on “city church” is good, but always ends up hung up on how to share power: “who will be in charge?” Funny how it’s not reversed “who will be the least.” In America we don’t need more gifted preachers, we need to trust Christ to be head over His church, and ask Him to be our leader. “Give us a king!” we scream, when what we really need to do is walk in the love and truth God is so ready to freely bestow on those who would be priests unto Him.
If we ever get to the point where we know we’ve replicated the first century church, or that we’re doing it the right way, it’s over. I think the Lord in His wisdom will deal with the world through broken vessels, striving for unity. However close we get to the ideal church experience, we must hold it loosely, knowing it is all of grace. I am blessed to be where I’m at, and long for many of my brothers to know real church life, but at the same time I know God works through the meek and opposes the proud, so I repent of the pride that so easily ensnares me, and ask God to bless the First Baptist churches of the world. Thanks for reading this, and may the Lord bless his holy people.
I agree with Hal that God desires unity and that we should work toward unity. I also agree with Hal that God even works through broken people – even those who refuse to live in the unity of the body of Christ. When we think we’ve got it all together – when we think things are perfect – then we’re relying on ourselves and our ability to do things right, instead of relying on God and his grace.
I thank God for brothers like Hal who are living the gospel with those who are different from themselves. I also thank God for all of those who email me. I’m always encouraged to hear what God is doing through his children around the world.