That’s the number of Christian denominations and sects recorded by the World Christian Encyclopedia. I don’t know how to describe that number except to use the word “insane.” There almost as many divisions among the people who call themselves Christians as there are people living in Dickson County, Tennessee!
I’m not that naïve; I understand that as long as the devil is in the world, there will be division. But this number is unacceptable. Too many people have given up on churches too easily. Too many people have abandoned the bedrock of unity—Scripture. Too many people have followed a preacher rather than the gospel. As a result, our testimony before the world is hindered. Our fellowship has been broken too easily.
Unity does not come easily. It requires effort and dedication to the words of Paul in Philippians 1:27-28: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.”
The three-fold recipe is simple, but not always easy. We must stand firm in one spirit—God’s Holy One. We can’t act in ways that would grieve him (Ephesians 4:30) or quench him (1 Thessalonians 5:19). We must have one mind. We share goals and ambitions. We communicate with each other. We have the mind that is in Christ Jesus—one of humility and obedience (Philippians 2:5). Finally, we have to “strive” side by side.
We’ve made a lot of progress towards unity in this church, but our future success will come only if we heed the words of this scripture. Are you doing your part?