The more “Chained No More” classes that open up around our country and the world, the more I see how God is using it in all different denominations of churches as well as other types of ministry.
Growing up, I remember hearing adult conversations about “them” in the other churches. “They” haven’t been enlightened by the Holy Spirit yet to believe what we believe. We can’t associate with “them” because “they” don’t believe the same way “we” do. I remember feeling very uneasy about that even as a kid. Heck, within the Baptist denomination alone, there are different “strains” of it. I bought the book, “Religions For Dummies” a few years back and I was surprised at the variety of beliefs there were.
We have had several participants in our CNM classes who come from different churches and I remember in the 80’s when I directed L.I.F.E. Aerobics, that we had instructors and students who were from a wide variety of churches and some who didn’t go to church at all. We always say that we believe that the Bible is the Word of God and we will not compromise anything in the Chained No More books, however, we will not beat our participants over the head with the Bible. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to change hearts; it is ours to accept people and extend the arms of Jesus to them.
How it must grieve the Lord to see the disunity in His Body here on earth; His children looking at the differences instead of the common bonds as we pick apart His Word to keep us from serving in unity. One Hope and Love, Inc. are two ministries here in Eugene, Oregon that purposely brings all Bible-believing churches together to serve in the community. They serve at homeless shelters, school supply giveaways, worship events, concerts, and so much more. What a beautiful sight to see the Body of Christ joining hands and hearts and serving Him together!
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
“May the God Who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth, you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:5-7
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is ONE body, ONE Spirit – just as you were called to ONE hope when you were called – ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism; ONE God and Father of all.” Ephesians 4:2-6
You know, my sister and I don’t live in the same house, but we are still sisters. So, whether your church is traditional, progressive, quiet and reverent or holy rollin’ or anywhere in between, we are all the body of Christ. Let’s keep that in mind when we gather together. Work for the common bonds in Christ.
P.S. Just because someone doesn’t believe exactly the same as we do, doesn’t make them wrong.