One thing I’ve observed over recent years is that the Lord is blurring the distinctives between groups of Christians.
Photo credit: Several seconds (Creative Commons)
It used to be that charismatics and non-charismatics were divided by theology. They looked down on each other–the non-charismatics thought that charismatics were flaky, all froth and no substance. The charismatics thought the non-charismatics were not fully following God. Today, I never hear those opinions. Some of the most Spirit-filled people I know would not claim any kind of “baptism in the Spirit” experience. We often teach people in non-charismatic denominations how to prophesy and they don’t seem to be at all put out. God has blurred the distinctions between us.
Another set of distinctions that is increasingly blurring is that between simple/organic church and legacy churches. It used to be that legacy churches viewed those in simple/organic churches as rebellious, rejecting authority, unsubmissive. In turn, those in simple churches tended to view others as not really on the cutting edge of what God was doing.
Thankfully, this is no longer the case. Small and large churches are working together. The Kingdom has become more important than what we ourselves are doing.
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6 replies on “Blurring the distinctives”
this is so true and so encouraging!
We are one body and need to unite for the greater good!
Felicity I’d love to get a copy of your book ‘Taking Flight’ How can I get one? When I clicked on it on, I got a page telling me about some error…
Thank the Lord that this is so. It reminds me of the classic chorus, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus”. The truth of those words are not only true for us as individuals, but also for us as the corporate body of Christ. As we “look full in His wonderful face” all “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” The earthly distinctions that divide believers truly “blur” and “grow strangely dim” when we are taken up with the glory and grace of God in His Beloved Son. In the Father’s eyes, He is our only distinctive! May it become so for us too! Thanks for the encouraging post.
Taking Flight is a book on women to which I contributed one chapter. It has many other authors (such as Frank Viola). Hopefully the link will be working soon. It’s available from Amazon in the States at http://amzn.to/xCw5j3 and in the UK at http://amzn.to/At2HAr
The blurring of the Pentecostal/charismatic/evangelical divisions has (thankfully) been happening for quite some time. Some of the outward signs of charismatic experience (raising hands in worship, quietly speaking in tongues in prayer, more contemporary and personal worship music, etc) are found in many evangelical churches, though whether these are signs of the Spirit or just a cultural change is less certain) and many Pentecostal churches are moderating their second blessing/necessity of tongues teachings.
All sorts of denominational barriers are breaking down, and we can be thankful for that. But there is still a long way to go!
Yes, this really IS happening. It’s exciting, clearly wholesome, and exactly what Jesus wants (he prayed that we would be one as he and the Father are one).
Perhaps we might all ask ourselves the question, ‘Where next?’
Where else can we work for oneness? Are there other ways we can encourage one another and build one another up? What about other parts of the church? Other streams. The denominations.
Is it enough to call them ‘abominations’ (as some have done in the past) or can we begin to forge active, thriving links? How can I best stop judging my brother? How might I best reach my brother in love?
Chris, you ask some very pertinent and heart-searching questions. I believe the Lord will have his perfect bride–one that is not marred by divisions and denominations, schisms and criticism. What can we do to further this?