The Abolition of Denominational Christianity, PT. 2

Imagine a world with no divisions. I must admit, the concept is so foreign that to even imagine it is rather difficult to me. Back in the early 70’s John Lennon, of the Beatles, wrote a song called “Imagine.” Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all hippie on you. In our time this song is called “one of the most prolific songs ever written.” Sure, it’s a nice song, but there are a few phrases about getting rid of religion and no heaven and no hell—not small points. I love the Beatles, I love John Lennon’s writing, but I’m not the biggest fan of “imagine.”
So why bring that up, right? He does within this song, have some great points that I think can be considered. He writes, “Imagine no possessions/ I wonder if you can/ No need for greed or hunger/ A brotherhood of man/Imagine all the people /Sharing all the world /You may say that I’m a dreamer/But I’m not the only one 
I hope someday you’ll join us/And the world will live as one.” These lyrics really hit home, especially when reading passages like Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-37. The 1st century church didn’t have possessions, there was no greed or hunger, and they lived together in phileo, or brotherly love. They sold everything they had, gave the money to the church, and shared everything so that no one was in need! Wow! That slaps my concept of reality right in the face.
Maybe right now you’re saying “I don’t see Scott doing this” and you’re right. Some may also say “That was for the 1st century, that just can’t work today.” I don’t know if this is an example that we are “commanded” to follow. I don’t live this way—however, what if it is a command and we just make excuses? What if we can make our “doctrinal arguments” showing that in the context of the early church this would work, but not today. What if those are all just elegant excuses? Wrong assumptions? Greed and materialism? These are questions that you can’t argue away. They need to be asked, they need to be discussed, they need to be thought about.
How does this relate to the abolition of denominationalism? Imagine the culture and community this would create! Imagine how we would share life together if we could some how get rid of all the silly and trivial things that divide us? That we divide ourselves over? I can resonate with John Lennon very truly when he sings, “You may say that I’m a dreamer/ But I’m not the only one.” I know I’m not the only one thinking these things. Church history is full of people who have “thought about it.”
However, there are very few who actually staked EVERYTHING to try and live it. Look at the Apostles—they gave their lives for it. Martin Luther, excommunicated from the Holy Roman Catholic Church because he dared to focus on Jesus Christ and no on tradition. Thomas and Alexander Campbell, Barton W. Stone, Elias Smith, James O’Kelly—men who would be used by God to start the American Restoration Movement in the 1800’s. They dared to say “Enough! There is no place for all this division and argument within the church of Christ!” They suffered for it, all of these men. However, they left behind a fire that would ignite one of the largest religious movements in the world this side of Pentecost.
Imagine what the world would be like if these men had displayed cowardice under the establishment and didn’t see the bigger picture: God saving man through Jesus Christ, showing love, showing us how to love, and how to live with one another in love, all the while leading people to Christ. Isn’t that the Gospel? Christ crucified for being the ultimate example? Then the resurrection to new life? A life that’s eternal? These men caught a glimpse of how it was supposed to be, they acted, and we have eternal life through Christ as a result.
How is God going to use you in this Restoration? How will He use you to change the church back to what it was? Maybe you already know. Maybe you’ve never thought about it. It’s time to act. God is raising up workers. Will you help or hinder? Will you stand with me and the millions of others who say “enough!” and refuse to let the church become just another institution among institutions? Or will you stand up for the Gospel, the simple and pure Gospel that brings salvation to the world? Will you live it, no matter what? These are questions only you can answer. I hope this gives you something to think about. – Scott

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