As the growing threats of ISIS and other anti-Christ forces brutalize Christians in the Middle East, many are asking what should Christians be doing here at home to prepare. While efforts by the media, ACLU and vigilante atheists groups grow in their bid to silence America's Christians, many are pleading for stronger unity among Christian denominations.
While I believe that a fragmented Christian community offers a very poor defense against the coming darkness, I also believe that unity at all cost is a proven mistake. For hundreds of years, the denominational world has suggested that greater unity requires greater compromise. I ask you, how is that working out? Much like the politically correct propaganda of "color blindness" has not solved racial injustice, "denominational blindness" will not solve divisiveness within Christendom. Denying reality is rarely effective.
Perhaps the key to unity within Christendom is not denying our differences but rather using our differences as a sifting agent to identify areas upon which we do agree. Once common ground is found and a unifying fortress of trust is built within those areas, other differences can be addressed more effectively.
Allow me to offer you a diagram of the human experience and the natural progression of fellowship within that journey. I call it "Fellowship of the Rings". (For more information on this important topic, order a copy of Fellowship of the Rings.)
The journey of life is all about finding purpose. Why are we here? Who put us here? What does He expect of us? What can we do to please Him? By God's design, answers are found while traveling toward the intense fellowship at the center of the rings. Each of us are at different stages along that line of progression and our level of fellowship is governed accordingly.
Our journey begins on the outskirts of life's ripples. As newborn infants, we know only one thing - human value. Self-awareness leads us to place ultimate importance upon our own needs. As those needs are met by others, we bond with them and our appreciation for human value grows even more. When God launches each person onto the timeline of their human experience, He does so at this level. Like a father encouraging his child to take her first step, He coaxes us toward the next ripple of fellowship then the next and the next. Even atheists experience this outer ring and do, therefore, have at least a diluted level of fellowship with those who have journeyed further.
In the next ring, we begin to process more about the world around us. Obvious design leads us to conclude that there must be a Designer. We fascinate over creation and our curiosity leads us to a superficial worship. Even though, for most, curiosity never leads them to a full commitment, the fellowship experienced at this level is much deeper than it is for those who remain at the outer ring.
The journey into the next ring presents the most difficult transition thus far. In this ring we confront the fragility of the human experience. The physical realm begins to falter and we look beyond our casual acknowledgement of a Designer, seeking hope from beyond the material world. In a state of sin darkness, our urgent conviction causes us to grope about for answers. We call out, "What must be done to gain the favor of the One Who exercises ultimate control over my existence?" We learn that our sin has led to the death of God's one and only Son. We plead for a solution and we mentally accept that Jesus is that solution.
Fellowship within this ring has the potential to be so intense that unity over worldly issues is attainable at nearly every level. Christians can and should cooperate to achieve goals involving family values, world hunger, poverty, disease and a hundred other earthly issues. Unity within this ring is essential for physical survival. This is the level at which the majority of Christians are able to join forces against ISIS, the ACLU, vigilante atheist groups and any other worldly persecution that threatens Christ-likeness. This is the level that offers the greatest potential of numeric unity.
The vast majority of America's citizens embrace Christianity. Their journey to this level of fellowship offers many advantages and opportunities for unity. Let's celebrate them! Let's build our Christian fortification! For the sake of our children and the comforts of our worldly existence, let's find greater unity at this level.
Even though the potential fortification we can build within this third ring is substantial, it is far from being complete. Unity at this level only allows us to fight for physical comforts. It only draws us together over issues of the material realm. True spiritualism can only be found within the center ring. Only through a water/Spirit rebirth can ultimate fellowship with the Creator and His children be experienced.
The journey into the center ring is the most important transition of all. Its importance is so great that Satan concentrates his legions and intensifies his efforts at this point. He invests more of his deceptive energy at the edge of this ring than he does at any other place in the human experience. Like a wolf in sheep's clothing, he masquerades as an angel of light. He tickles the ears of the gullible and convinces the masses that their journey is complete. "Conviction is enough," he whispers. "Going any further would only be an insult to God. You can't earn your own salvation! Stop here. Take your ease. Eat, drink and be merry! You've gone far enough."
Unfortunately, this is the level at which most Christians end their journey. The damnable doctrines of Calvinism and other end times false teachings distract travelers from fully journeying into the center ring. The masses come so close, yet Satan's minions successfully convince them to pull up short. Truly the words of Christ are most profound when He warns, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14, NIV)
Note: Because the word Christian means Christ-like, I have intentionally used it within this article to describe anyone who is sincerely pursuing a relationship with Jesus. However, being Christ-like and being Christ-bought can be two very different things. One requires imitation while the other demands a ransom experienced through immersion in the blood of Christ. Don't pull up short! Be both!
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