Bridgebuilders Needed…A Call to Unity

bridgebuilderOver the last few months, I have had numerous discussions regarding the need for unity in God’s church. It seems that Satan is working overtime to steal, kill and destroy. Don’t think for a moment that this is new strategy on his part. Throughout the history of time, Satan has taken advantage of differences of opinion to cause breakdowns in relationships. And his attack is often launched upon the church. Satan knows that if he can cause friction between brothers and sisters in the church, then he can divert the attention of the world to the brokenness of mankind and away from the spectacular nature of God.
It seems these days that the church is in need of some bridgebuilders. A bridgebuilder is someone who is committed to walking hand-in-hand in the unity provided by Jesus Christ, in spite of our differences. A bridgebuilder is a reconciler; a man or woman who is confident in their faith and able to love others who claim Christ but may not be of the same opinion on some less crucial matters. From the outset, let me state that there are, and should be, some non-negotiables when it comes to our faith. For me, the main non-negotiables are that Jesus Christ is the only way to God (John 14:6) and the Bible is God’s Word to us and is sufficient, providing everything we need to pursue life and godliness. But there are many opinions within the church that divide our unity and give God a bad reputation in the minds of those who do not know Him. My friends, we must realize that there is diversity within unity. And the diverse opinions should be brought up and talked about in a passionate, but compassionate search for truth.
Sometimes we struggle in our humanity building walls instead of bridges. Building a wall brings about isolation. Building a bridge builds community and reconciliation.
I am reminded of the following story that Nicky Gumble tells in the Alpha Course that illustrates what I am saying:
‘I was standing in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge admiring the view when another tourist walked up alongside of me to do the same. I heard him say quietly, as he took in the beauty of the view, `What an awesome God.’ I turned to him and said, `Are you a Christian?’ He said, `Yes, I am a Christian.’ I said, `So am I,’ and we shook hands. I said, `Are you a liberal or a fundamental Christian?’ He said, `I am a fundamental Christian.’ I said, `So am I,’ and we smiled and nodded to each other. I said, `Are you a Covenant or dispensational, fundamental Christian?’ He said, `I am a dispensational, fundamental Christian.’ I said, `So am I,’ and we slapped one another on the back. I said, `Are you an early Acts, mid-Acts or late Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian?’ He said, `I am a mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian.’ I said, `So am I,’ and we agreed to exchange Christmas cards each year. I said, `Are you an Acts 9 or 13, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian?’ He said, `I am an Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian.’ I said, `So am I,’ and we hugged each other right there on the bridge. I said, `Are you a pre-trib or post-trib, Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian?’ He said, `I am a pre-trib, Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian.’ I said, `So am I,’ and we agreed to exchange our kids for the summer. I said, `Are you a 12-in or 12-out, pre-trib, Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian?’ He said, `I am a 12-in, pre-trib, Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian.’ I said, `You heretic,’ and pushed him off the bridge!’ Sadly, that has been the story of the church for much of the last two thousand years. But disunity is a scandal. Disunity is unattractive but the other side is also true, when churches unite it is so attractive. Jesus said, “By this will all people know that you’re my disciples if you have love for one another”.
Now, don’t get hung up in all the doctrinal language of this story. It is offered as an exaggerated look at how we are quick to build walls and divide ourselves. Instead, set out on the journey to build a bridge and seek reconciliation where there is a divide. Let us do so in ways that God is glorified.