Imagine seeing a body made entirely of hands, or of eyes (see image)? Or even, of feet? Or armpits? (I am imagining one eighty feet tall terrorising rural England- yeuch). Yet that seems to be how denominations can be. Bear in mind that the following post contains gross generalisations and is not an absolute guide to any particular fellowship of which you may be a member!
From 1 Corinthians 12: (focussing on the part from 12-27):
“Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.”
“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?”
“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,…”
The emphasis of Paul’s passage is the gifts of the Spirit. But I would like to take this further and make some suggestions, that surely apply to the denominationally divided church today.
E.g. (1) the “Liberal” church at its best values Love(Biblical), but at its worst disregards aspects of Truth it regards as unloving. Whereas the “Biblical” church at its best values the Truth of Scripture (Biblical), but at its worst acts hatefully (e.g. certain activities of Westboro Baptist Church). What if instead of each end of the spectrum saying “I don’t need you” they agreed to Tell the Truth in Love?
E.g. (2) the Evangelical Church at its best values the Bible being All True and Witnessing and Evangelism (Biblical) but at worst throws away Spiritual Gifts, whereas the Pentecostal movement has sometimes been in danger of going the other way. Imagine if Bible-believing Spirit-filled Christians cooperated for the enlarging and deepening of the Kingdom of God? Stranger things have happened! (Though not perhaps as strange as an 80ft tall monster made of armpits).
The examples are endless! Baptists are right on baptism! Public reading of Scripture is going on in many denominations, and they are right to focus on it! But wherever man’s traditions are trumping the Lord God, there is trouble, and wherever there is dissension and factions and people are putting their denominational or personal loyalty to an individual above loyalty to God, there is a problem! Surely this is the devil’s plan to wreck the love and unity that should belong to the church, because we are meant to be known by how much we “love one another”. And such factions are “worldly” according to scripture! So let us press on to the goal of putting our Lord Jesus first!