In scripture, the body of Christ is referred to as ‘the church of God,’ ‘the churches of Christ,’ ‘the way,’ ‘the bride of Christ’ and many other names. And by practice, we are ‘catholic’ when we see the church as universal. We are ‘baptist’ as we immerse believers into Christ. We are ‘presbyterian’ at least in those congregations where we are blessed by and led by presbyters/elders. And when we choose to adhere to our own traditional methods, are we not ‘methodist?’ In fact, if our lives are representing the nature of God to the world are we not ‘witnesses to Jehovah?’ The unity of the body of Christ is not bound by any allegiance to any of these names. Nor does it have to be threatened by the mention of them. We are bigger than that.
On the night He was betrayed, our Lord fervently and repeatedly prayed for the body of Christ to be “united,” to be “perfected in unity” (John 17). Our Savior overcame a much stronger and longer lasting division between Jew and Gentile at the cost of shedding His blood on the cross, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14 NIVUK). As genuine followers of Christ, we are called to unity.
No, we are not to compromise the teaching of the word or God or choose any religious traditions as equal to or superior to the truth contained in scripture. But unless we focus more on unity in Christ and less on our sense of ‘rightness, then we will never be the united body of Christ that Jesus prayed for and died for us to be. When Jesus talked with religious leaders whose perspective disagreed with Him, He chose to ask them questions and to supply scripture instead of lowering Himself to arguing. Christ left us a uniting message that calls for all of us to deny self, take up our crosses and follow Him. He specifically told us not to argue (Philippians 2:14).
Because He lives,