My chronological reading-through-the-bible plan has me studying the gospels right now.
"John answered, 'Master we saw somene casting out demons in your name and we tried to stop him because he does not follow with us.' But Jesus said to him, 'Do not stop him for the one who is not against you is for you.'" (Luke 9:49-50)
What came to mind when I read that, and stopped me in my tracks, was this question - is that what Jesus would say to our petty denominational disagreements today?
John's statment - he doesn't follow with us - sounds like their version of "he doesn't listen to the pastor i listen to" or " he goes to a lutheran church, not an evangelical church."
Don't get me wrong - there are majors and minors - and I don't want to brush over the majors. I'm not advocating some peace circle where we all sit around and sing kum-by-ah with every one that says "I believe in my God, you believe in your God, what's the difference?"
That Jesus is God - major
What you wear to church - minor
That the music at church lifts high the name of Jesus Christ and the truth of God's word - major
The style of that music - minor
The style of the church building- minor
We need to know who's on our team, but be careful how we define who is on our side.
I imagine myself asking the question John asked... "Master, we saw someone [fill in the blank] and we tried to stop him because he doesn't follow with us."
put it this way...
Me: Jesus, I saw someone singing hymns instead of contemporary Christian music in church last week and I tried to stop him because he's not with us - you know, you, me, and contemporary Christian music.
Me: Jesus, I saw someone who doesn't go to adult sunday school after church and I tried to correct him because he's not with us - you know, you Jesus, me, and the way we do church.
I then imagine Jesus answering, "Don't stop him. For the one who isn't against you is for you."
Let's agree that we'll always do the minors differently. But we better be functioning in unity as the body of Christ and realize who is truly "for us." How much more could God use us if we weren't busy fighting battles with those on the same team?
I am totally guilt of this! John and I, we're in the same boat. Lord help me to not get caught up on the minors, and to work together with other believers to accomplish your work here on earth.