"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Corinthians 1:10 (KJV)
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Growing up in the Bible belt of South Eastern United States everyone always understood that when you first met someone, one of the first things you would try to find out is where they went to church. The name of the church would also most likely signify which denomination you belonged to also. About 70% of the time the answer to that question would most likely be a Baptist church. The division of Baptist would tend to vary, but the most popular was by far Baptist. The remaining portion would normally vary from Methodist, Episcopal, Catholic to Pentecostal-Holiness. When we last made a post, the topic was the soon arrival of a new spiritual awakening/revival awaiting God’s people to pray. Along with that spiritual renewal there will be another transition within the local church, which is the unification of the major denominations in this country. This God-inspired movement did not start over night, but has been crafted by the master for some many years now. Let us take a look into how and why it is happening.
Denominations used to tell a story about who a parishioner may be spiritually as well as personally. All you have to do is ask one of the more seasoned Christian members in a mainstream denominational church. Ask why they chose the denomination they did and you will get some very colorful responses. The older generations are proud of the conferences that they belong, they hold on tightly to the traditions and structure. Not long ago you could tell someone you were Southern Baptist and most would know that your church was likely a good place to hear good teaching of the Gospel. If you mentioned that you were Episcopalian, people would assume you were passionate about the traditions and customs of old-time Christianity in our country. If Pentecostal was mentioned you would observe a range of responses from eye-rolls, to offers of prayer and support. However, they always knew that if a need was urgent that they could call the Pentecostal members and count on it being prayed for. Many wanted to avoid the “strict” and “loud” services, but they also knew the Holiness church was one that God moved through. I pray that today the church in general would become such a praying group, that miracles and faith-confessions would once again become the normal in weekly services. I am glad that some things have changed. As time and people’s relationship with God (or lack of) have progressed, so has the view of the local church. Even the doctrines and identities of the denominations have changed over time.
One Common factor I have observed in the unification of the church is worship styles. Some call the common style I now see “charismatic” worship, some “free” worship, but I call it “Spirit-led” worship. It has been a staple in the Pentecostal church since it’s foundation and has taken many of the Baptist, Methodists, and others by storm. Even much older denominations are turning towards this style of connecting with God through the music. While some do not understand the “feeling” that may result from the worship style, Holiness churches are no strangers to it. For us it is about more than a feel-good experience, it is a presence of the Holy Ghost we seek. The Spirit can be felt through free and anointed worship, where it was once hindered by structure/tradition. There are those who give credit to the popularity of new contemporary worship artists, but I give all the honor and glory to God who is the real architect. It doesn’t really matter how this commonality among the worship came about, but rather the fact that the worship is happening. When God is worshipped, praised, glorified, and raised up in His house, He will dwell in that place of worship with his people.
Another factor bringing denominations together with others is the presence of sin, persecution, and disregard for God all around us. It is true that many once solid organizations have compromised their stance on sin, but those who are resisting by sticking with God’s standards are showing a stance of unity. There have been many meetings and rallies in our local area where all the local church members are coming together to combat common threats, especially in recent years concerning factors such as same sex marriage and transgender restroom policies. Many other issues have come us recently as well that have much larger impacts such as the parameters of abortion and substance use. While the enemy is trying to bring down the world with him, God is using it for the good of His people by bringing them together.
According to the scriptures regarding the end-times, we still have some events left to be unfolded to bring about the destruction of the world. While it could happen at the blink of an eye, it is still good to see God’s people coming together to worship His holy name. May we continue to unify and align ourselves together under the cause of Jesus Christ. I pray we always strive to once again operate in “one accord”. Until next time, may God bless you and keep you, Amen.
Psalm 133:1 (KJV)
133 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
1 Corinthians 12:27 (ESV)
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.