Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Forcing Conformity

One of the dangers of the Christian community is a tendency to enforce conformity. Church organizations can require uniformity on a large number of issues. Now Scripture does speak of unity (Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-4; Colossians 3:12-14). It also says there is a need to correct those who have violated that unity by their actions and beliefs (Galatians 1:6; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Jude 22,23). However, it says that Christ's body is diverse, having many different types of members, all of which are important (1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Romans 12:3-5; Ephesians 4:14-16). Further, it says that there is room for disagreement on minor issues (Romans 14:1-12; 1 Corinthians 8:1-3; James 4:11-12). The picture we get is of a broad unity with a wide allowance within for diversity. This is not what I see in the Christian church today. I see churches divided based on spiritual gifts, methodologies, or even personalities. We have evangelistic churches and teaching churches. Emotional churches and unemotional churches. Formal churches and informal churches. And where these different types ought to be together, rubbing the rough edges off each other, they tend to gather with those of a similar mindset which will not challenge them. Now it might be said that it is dangerous to try to build a congregation which reflects this kind of diversity. It is easier and  safer to produce conformity. This is true. But I believe real diversity is what God requires.

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