Tuesday, September 30, 2008

4 Minute Devotions: Church or Kingdom?

Are denominations important for our spiritual journey? Are Christians dividing their loyalty between Christ and the Church?

Podcast version here

Acts 17: 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

Our wee church is growing, but sadly our denomination is not. Erin is a Christ-centered, biblically moderate church, whereas our denomination is on the progressive side of Christianity. It used to be that this didn’t matter, but lately it has caused people to become a part of our congregation, without officially joining the church.

I understand how people feel, but I believe that they’re missing out of a great opportunity to get officially involved in the Fellowship of the church. In the Church of Scotland, such friends of the congregation are known as adherents: they stick to the congregation, but will not participate in the life, ministry, and work of the denomination.

There’s no easy answer to this dilemma, except to say that God doesn’t recognize any denomination. Christ’s Church is One Church, of One Faith, and One Lord. When we all get to heaven, there won’t be separate gates, places, or mansions for Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostalists or even Roman Catholics. We all become one Family of God and the Bridegroom of Christ. Denominations might define our Christian identity on Earth, but they are absolutely not required in Heaven.

Paul puts it even better: God is not far from anyone who seeks, reaches out, and finds Him. In other words, it’s not our denominations that bring us closer to God; it’s our genuine desire to seek and find God that ultimately brings us closer to Him.

As a pastor, I wish people would join the church without any misgivings, but as a Christian, I’m happy to see them worshipping with us on Sundays and keeping within God’s Kingdom. In the end, it’s our relationship with God through Christ Jesus that is eternally important, not our allegiance to any branch of His Church.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You call us to be disciples of Your Way and followers of Your Truth. We find that churches can provide us with the seeking skills, scriptural knowledge, and faithful fellowship that we need on our spiritual journey. We thank You for all denominations and congregations throughout the world. However, constantly remind us that our allegiance is meant solely for You above all else. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.


Gannet Girl said...

I just wantd to say thanks for stopping by in the last weeks.

Stushie said...

Thank you, too. I wish I could do more.