Dale – This morning as I prepare Kerry’s article for publication my thoughts and prayers are with the victims, family, friends, and community of the church shooting in Sutherland Springs Texas.
By Kerry Rohman
Last week as I was teaching at a local homeschool co-op I asked a group of kindergarteners what war we were learning about. One 5-year-old boy proudly and quickly replied: “the silver war”. I chuckled at his response and said “That’s right! The Civil War” (emphasizing “civil” to gently correct his mispronunciation). Okay, next question. “Who was the president during the CIVIL war?” “Oh!! I know!! I know!!”, they shouted. “Abraham Lincoln! Abraham Lincoln!!” What a smart class! They must have a good teacher!
If I had to pick my favorite President of the United States ever, I would easily pick Abraham Lincoln. A few years before Honest Abe became President, he gave his famous “A House Divided” speech in which Abe said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Many believe he was quoting Jesus, “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” (Mark 3:25 NASB95).
While we know God’s kingdom “is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion will be forever” (Daniel 6:26 NASB95), I believe His heart is for His people to have United Faith. Ben mentioned in the article on Tolerant Faith that people are divided over everything (politics, religion, race, gender, etc). He went on to point out the division within the 10,000+ Christian denominations. Interestingly, before his arrest Jesus’ prayed for all believers “that they may be one, just as We (referring to the Father and himself) are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”(John 17:23)
For this article, I texted some friends from various churches asking what “United Faith” meant to them. It was very intriguing because the common theme in the answers was unity with other believers despite differences in doctrinal beliefs. We do not have to agree on everything to be ONE. We can stand together as the Body of Christ to promote love and peace. (Their responses are appended below.)
Why should we have united faith and how do we live that out? I personally believe that when the Body of Christ is disunified, it is weakened and becomes vulnerable to attack. However, I believe that the Church can have increased power and influence when united. For example, I met a woman that lives in a small town about 30 miles from me. She told me that her small town of 1,634 people has 7 churches. Five of those seven churches came together to start a shared ministry called “Common Ground”. They have a coffee shop and thrift store that helps finance local projects. This ministry between the churches is very powerful with many testimonies about the impact it’s made, in partnership with God, in this small community.
Additionally, I know a pastor that selects a local church each week. At the start of the church service, he describes the ministry of the other church, how God is working in there, and most importantly, his congregation prays for those brothers and sisters in Christ. Wow! To pray for other believers, just as Jesus did!
There are many ways to encourage and grow United Faith. It all starts with an attitude of seeing other Christian communities as “us” instead of as competitors. For churches, and the people in them, to become more concerned with advancing Christ’s kingdom instead of their own. Recognizing that no group of Christ-followers has it all right nor all wrong. And then, putting those attitudes to work like we’ve seen above.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!… It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.” (Psalm 133, NASB95)
Lord- You are Lord of All! We pray that the walls be broken down between churches and that we as believers can live out united faith. Heal any hurt experienced between the churches—that mercy triumphs over judgment and unforgiveness. Strengthen us to be one accord, and to always be for each other and not against. Holy Spirit, we welcome you to guide us always in our conversations, speaking encouraging words on our lips to all believers, to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and for wisdom when to be silent. Help us to see the works of the enemy causing division. Change our mindset to focus on building relationship, instead of debate and correction. Your kingdom come, Your will be done! In Jesus Name. AMEN.
What does United Faith Mean to You Responses:
To realize our agenda is not to correct others, but to build relationship and unity to strengthen the Body of Christ as a whole.
United Faith is so essential! Because to me it is the faith we share with others through Christ. As I listen to God answering prayer, huge prayers for someone else, It raise my faith because I know the next time I pray I can reference that other person and know God Can do this for me. Faith is the belief that God exists and can and will interact and be there for us.
When I am around other Christians I feel a stronger connection with Jesus. When I am out on my own or around non-Christians my faith or the number of times I let God lead me in a day dwindles. We need to interact with all people but we need to unite our faith with other believers so we can be more confident when we share our faith and when we need God in those tough moments in life.
If I just rely on my own faith without uniting it I wouldn’t be as bold as I am. I still need to be more outward with my faith and the number one way to do that is unite it with others in fellowship.
United faith to me means many different religions putting aside their differences and worshipping Christ as one body of Chris. What a beautiful thing that one day will happen. We will worship day and night every skin color, every believer, every tongue (language), singing, praying, reading the words as one.
Unity in the body of christ — unity happens when we are able to lay down our differences and really focus on the most central aspects of the Gospel– not bogged down in theories or doctrines that are not central or even scriptural, not allowing those things to divide us.
United faith in God is loving each other well. Not loving to be tolerant, but loving unconditionally. God is love 1 john 4:8
United faith is when you stand together on what you believe over dividing what you disagree on. So many denominations and groups of people are divided over interpretations of the Bible, many things we will probably only be able to make educated guesses about , never knowing for sure what Jesus and God meant exactly. It’s sad to me that there is so much division over these things, instead of unity, working together to spread the good news, love, and help others. I know it’s not practical to have denominations come together with all teachings, but it would be cool to a city unite all of the Christian believers in different projects. For example, helping the homeless, having game night with everyone, or a concert, etc. things that would promote love, unity, community, and hope in such a divided time we are in.
Faith- believing without a doubt what is in our hearts our souls; when the Holy Spirit resides there. We do not see with our eyes Him physically, but experience His greatness and undeniable presence as He unites us in the faith to be of one “body” entity “the church”, where together as believers who have experienced His goodness, we stand united, unmovable, unshakeable, and forever rooted in Him.