I hesitate to pen this article because of the title, but more because of the message. I really enjoy chronicling the things I’m going through in my writing. I also realize that you might not be held in the same interests as I am. Whenever you read this you are at the mercy of whatever is interesting to me—so maybe you don’t read it, and that’s okay too! I pray however that over the next few weeks you’ll walk with me down a very narrow path that won’t be easy. I pray also that the things God has put on my heart will speak to you and you will know that I am working out of love for Christ and for you!
First off, you may be asking why use such a strong word as “abolition?” Isn’t that word tied to so much pain and hurt for millions of people? Yes, it is. However, I really feel that this word implicates and demonstrates the struggle many have today: being slaves to a religious system, in particular, to a denomination of Christianity. In the end, these systems are cruel and unforgiving, often sacrificing you and your spiritual life to ensure the continuation of their particular persuasion. The word “abolish” literally means “to do away with, to put an end to, to void.”
The biggest question we need to ask is this: are denominations wrong? I could give you my opinion, but I’d rather let the matter be settled by God. Look at Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church:
“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.12What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”( 1 Cor. 1:10-13).
Paul asks these people right off, “Is Christ divided?” What does that mean? Its Paul asking, do you follow a man or Jesus? Are you loyal to the church or a person? Did Christ die for segmented and segregated groups who ascribe to a dictated creed or confession, or for all men to have the opportunity to be saved by the process God ordained in Scripture? Is Christ divided? No. Also, in 1 Cor. 12:12-26 Paul uses the illustration of a body to describe the church. The body is made of many parts that do a ton of different things, but on their own, they fail to work. However, when everything works together, the body work. The eye doesn’t complain because it wants to be a pelvis, the mouth doesn’t complain that it wants to be a pinky toe. The body understands the uniqueness of all its parts, and that without them it cannot and will not function properly. The same is absolutely true in the body of Christ, also known as the Church.
If the church isn’t supposed to be divided, then why are there thousands of groups saying they are the true church? See how this can be confusing to someone seeking God? Paul’s statement confounds me: “That all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you.” Notice he doesn’t say whose right and wrong—just that people agree, even if that means agreeing to disagree. Also, if you read Jesus’ prayer (He’s God so this is pretty important than, right?) in John 17:20-23 He says this:
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,21that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.22The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,23I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
Wow! That’s intense.
The night before His death Jesus has the right to pray for himself, but He chooses to pray for us! What does He pray? That we be converted to a particular doctrine? That we be one in many groups? That we talk bad about each other? No! That we may all be one! This is of eternal significance! Why? So that the world may know God is real and showed His intense, relentless love and mercy through Jesus Christ! Grab this point: Jesus didn’t just die for a particular group of people!“ Rather, to make one out of many:
“13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.14For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility15by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility (Eph. 2:13-16).
Christ died to unite, not to divide. That is why we must abolish division. We’ll begin to break this down into steps next week that you can take to join the movement. Pray this week.