According to the Center for Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there are around 47,000 protestant denominations. These denominations have been formed because groups of individuals interpret passages of Scripture in different ways. Therefore, whenever there is a disagreement within a denomination, the easy solution is to create another denomination that the group believes does a better job of “being what God wants.” However, this has created a problem in our society.
Ask most people what church they belong to, and you will get the name of the church they attend on Sunday mornings. I have been a pastor long enough to realize that people become very proud of their local church membership. Truth be told, our churches have become so separated that a simple Google search will bring up a plethora of articles and videos of pastors and theologians pointing out the shortcomings of the churches that differ in beliefs from theirs. It is no wonder church attendance is declining at such a rapid rate. Why would anyone want to take part in such a discombobulated mess?
As a married man, I know that no relationship is immune from the occasional disagreement. However, if all the children ever see is dad and mom fighting, it is going to be hard for them to believe that their parents love each other. The same goes for the Church. The Church is meant to be a beacon of light in a dark world. It is meant to display sacrificial and selfless love to a world that is taught to be selfish and egocentric. The only way to do this is to take the Church back to the mission that Paul proclaimed to the church in Corinth.
Paul proclaimed that he chose to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified. This man had every reason to use his position and experience to lure people in. Paul knew the Old Testament inside and out and excelled as a Jewish teacher. Yet, everything he did was centered solely on the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. For Paul, he knew nothing about himself was worth anything in comparison to who Jesus was and what He had done for him. Far too often, this message is forgotten in the church today.
We have far too many “experts” trying to defend which denomination is right and why everyone else is wrong. We have far too many churches that believe their health depends on their Sunday morning attendance or how much money is in their bank account. We have far too many congregants searching for the perfect pastor that makes them “feel something.” All the while completely missing the fact that there is only one Church and mission.
The only Church is the one bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. Christians in a world that argues about everything, let’s agree on one thing; Christ and Him crucified.