Daniel Rogers

Daniel Rogers

"Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:7). Some versions of this passage say to “receive” or “accept” one another just as Christ as received you. And how has Christ welcomed us? He received us in our helplessness, in our weakness, and while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:6-10). This is how we should receive each other!

Instead, we expect perfection: morally, politically, religiously, doctrinally, and tradition-ally. Line up with me or get out of line!

Regardless of our differences, there is a ground which is so sacred, so perfect, and so common that we can have perfect unity amidst our many differences, and that ground is the corner stone of Jesus Christ. Our mutual faith in him along with our love for God and neighbor is solid enough ground regardless of what differences we may have be-tween us.

Someone may say, “Daniel, does this mean you are willing to fellowship people who are in error.” To that I say, “I don’t know of any other kind of people.”

You see, Christian unity is far more important than any of the petty differences we have between each other in our various denominations because Christian unity is the way by which the world can know Jesus. Before Jesus died, he prayed, “…that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21).

Why does the world not believe? One reason is because Christians have spent too much time arguing over traditions, holding councils, splitting, excommunicating each other, and biting and devouring one another. While local denominations may be necessary because of our differences and preferences, uncharitable divisions must not exist among God’s people. If we stay divided, not only are we working against the prayer of Jesus in John 17, but we are consenting to the death of the world.

Who among us doesn’t believe in one God? Who among us doesn’t believe in one Lord, one faith, and one baptism? What Christian on Sand Mountain denies that there is one Spirit? Since we are many members of one body, and since we share the same hope in Jesus, let us work together in caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and “visiting the fatherless and the widows in their affliction.” This kind of work is pure religion, not keeping ourselves pure by banishing any differences among us!

The seconds we spend not cooperating with each other in the work of the kingdom, are seconds that are wasted.

Yes, this kind of cooperation is difficult because of our differences, but this is what Je-sus prayed for. When we consider the first century church, the potential divisions they faced because of their various Jewish and Gentile backgrounds were seemingly in-surmountable, but Paul had hope. He wrote, “Now I appeal to you, brothers and sis-ters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you but that you be knit together in the same mind and the same purpose” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

How do we “speak the same thing” (KJV)? By agreeing in every detail? No, but by all agreeing that we serve one God, are filled with one Spirit, and follow one Lord, Jesus Christ, the risen Savior. So, let’s lay aside the weight that so easily entangles us and unite together with the confidence that Jesus can do amazing things through us. Let us receive each other as Jesus as received us.

Daniel Rogers is a co-minister for the North Broad Church in Albertville.

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