Every single snow flake is different.
God is a God of diversity, He is not a God of uniformity. You only have to look at nature to see that God delights in making things different, in making things interesting. Take snowflakes for example – every single snowflake is different. That doesn’t seem possible, and yet it’s true. If Mankind were to produce snowflakes, they would all be produced in a factory and every single one would be the same. But that is not the way with God – God makes them all different, every single one. Then there’s all the different kinds of animals, birds, fish, insects, plants etc. There is no doubt that God is most certainly a God of diversity.
The Church is full of diversity.
It’s the same with people – God made us all different, He made us all unique. Even twins, who may look identical, are in fact two very different people. Then there’s all the different skin colours – which are not meant to divide, they are simply meant to be diverse. There are some who would argue that all the different religions are part of God’s diversity – they’re not (see ‘All Roads Lead To Heaven (Apparently)’ ) and there are those who would argue that homosexuality and other perversions are part of God’s diversity – but they’re not! They are sin, plain and simple (see ‘The Homosexuality Issue’). But let’s look at the Church, because the Church is full of diversity. The Church has people from almost every nationality and from all different positions in life; from kings, queens and presidents, to movie stars, shop workers and road sweepers. The Church bears God’s mark of diversity.
How can we disagree, without causing division?
But when does diversity become a wall of division? There are many different denominations within the Church, and that in itself is not a bad thing. The problem comes, when Christians stick more rigidly to the religious teachings and doctrines of their denomination than they do to the Bible. When they refuse to mix with Christians from other denominations. God never intended for there to be this division in the Church – in fact, Jesus specifically prayed for Christian unity, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21). So what’s the answer? How can we disagree, without causing division? The answer is simple: maturity! We need to know what the core issues of Christianity are, i.e. what makes someone a true Christian? and what are secondary issues. Now that is not to downplay the importance of many of these secondary issues, but it is far better to civilly disagree, than to argue and cause or enforce divisions. Listen to the example given in Romans 14:2-3 about eating or not eating meat, “One man believes that he may eat anything, another man, without this strong conviction, is a vegetarian. The meat-eater should not despise the vegetarian, nor should the vegetarian condemn the meat-eater—they should reflect that God has accepted them both” (J.B. Phillips translation). The Bible makes it clear that we can eat meat, “Everything that moves, everything that is alive, is yours for food. Earlier I gave you the green plants, but now I give you everything for food” (Genesis 9:3, Expanded Bible). But an issue such as this should not divide us. We are allowed to have differing opinions. Yes, one person is right and the other is wrong, it is not a case of, “Well, there’s no right or wrong answers“. There is a right answer and there is a wrong answer, but that fact should not cause arguments and division. If you disagree with another Christian, gently explain your point of view, but do not force it upon them.
As Christians we should be at a level where we can have discussions with other Christians and not always agree.
This equally applies with more important issues than just eating meat. There are Christians who do not believe in the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Now I would say that they are missing out on a vital part of Christianity, but the key question is, ‘Have they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour?’. Some churches practice infant baptism, whilst others argue that there is no infant baptism in the Bible. But again the key question is, ‘Have they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour?’ As Christians we should be at a level, where we can have discussions with other Christians and not always agree; but to be able to do it in a civilised, respectful manner. Probably the core beliefs which any true Christian must believe are that Jesus is the Son of God, born of Mary (who was, at the time, a virgin) – fully God and fully Man. That He lived a sinless life, died on the cross and was raised to life on the third day, thus purchasing our salvation. Of course there is far more to Christianity than this, but these are the core beliefs. This is what separates a denomination from a cult.
In seeking to avoid division within the Church is extremely important that we absolutely reject the claims of cults.
During the 2012 American presidential election, in the primaries (the stages where the candidate for each party is chosen), many of the people voting failed to recognise the difference between a Mormon and a Christian. Mitt Romney (the challenger to President Obama in the 2012 election) said the following, “Christianity is not the faith of the complacent, the comfortable or of the timid. It demands and creates heroic souls like Wesley, Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer, John Paul the Second, and Billy Graham. Each showed, in their own way, the relentless and powerful influence of the message of Jesus Christ“. Which is absolutely true, but saying it did not make him a Christian, any more than if a Muslim had said it. Despite what they may say, Mormons are not Christians. Click here to see why.
It is extremely important that we absolutely reject the claims of cults.
In seeking to avoid division within the Church it is extremely important that we absolutely reject the claims of cults such as Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witnesses to be part of the Church. Their claims are a dangerous deception, designed to fool people who would never accept the teachings of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism etc. Satan has got every base covered, he has a deception for every person, whether they believe in no God, one God, many gods or whatever. So let’s decide to pursue the maturity to be able to agree to disagree, whilst using Godly wisdom to recognise what is deception; and in these cases to make a very clear divide, a very clear separation. Let’s also be prepared to change what we believe if it can be proved Biblically that we were wrong on a certain issue. I’m not saying we should change our beliefs frequently, Ephesians 4:14 specifically warns against this, “We are not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching” (J. B. Phillips translation). But it is possible that our beliefs may have been based on religion, rather than on the Bible; and if this is the case, following the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we should be prepared to change.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
If you have never received Jesus as your Lord & Saviour, if you have gone away from God, or if you have any doubts regarding your salvation. I encourage you to click on the link below. Clicking on the link will not secure your salvation, but praying the prayer you find, from your heart, will.
For the salvation prayer, please click here.