Tuesday, September 29, 2015
The Church, in All its Diversity, is the Body of Christ.
Until the visit of Pope Francis to the United States, I had forgotten the hatred and bigotry of some who profess to be Christians for each other. There are two identifying marks of being a Christian. The first is doctrinal, the second is practical. First, “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” [1 John 4:2]. Second, “If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” [1 John 4:20].
A working rule of thumb is this: Apostasy and lovelessness are two sides of the same coin. If the doctrine is wrong, the walk will be wrong. If the walk is wrong the doctrine is likely to be wrong.
Paul says, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” [Ephesians 4:1-3].
Why had I forgotten the hatred and bigotry of some Christians for each other? For years I was a member of Full Gospel Businessmen International, and in all the time that I was actively involved with that fellowship I never once heard Spirit-Filled people condemn other Christians. The reason is simple. If you walk in the Spirit you will love one another. The Church is the Body of Christ, and we are all members of that Body, regardless of denomination.