Roger E. Olson who is becoming one of my favorite theologians, writes about the rift that is occurring and actually has already occurred in evangelicalism in the new fundamentalism. I hope there’s more overlap and time yet to bring the two together. Some would say two factions, though from my perspective there is one side that has been factious. Th0ugh I all too easily can fall into this sin myself!
I am ecumenical in a Christian orthodox sense. I am “in Jesus” and to be “in Jesus” means to be united not only with Christ, but with all others who are “in Christ.” So I’m one with many many Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Mainline Protestants, all who name the name of Jesus, whose sins have been washed away through Jesus, who have received new life by the Spirit.
We are all many expressions of Christ’s Body in the world. We each individually are expressions of Jesus himself by the Spirit, and together in our various fellowships throughout the world are expressions of Jesus as a Body. In fact the latter is in some ways more fundamental to what God is doing in the world than the former. In Jesus is not only an individual matter, but it is at heart, community oriented.
God loves it when his people in Jesus get along well. When we don’t, such breach is a serious matter, even sin, though we often explain it away. When the Corinthians sinned at the Lord’s Table, their sin was not recognizing the Lord’s Body. Those well to do were arriving early at the meal, leaving little for their poor brothers and sisters who arrived later. They had failed to treat each other as family, as the family they are in Jesus.
What about us? Do we treat each other as family, or not? Does this mean we have to agree on everything? We know we will see things differently at times, even disagreeing. But how do we disagree? That is the question. Do we do so in love, as family members? As brothers and sisters who love each other? Sadly we know all too well how family members can squabble, not get along, and even separate.
But God not only has better things for us in Jesus, but better things for the world through us in Jesus. We show to the world God’s love when we are united, and in that unity in Jesus live out God’s love and truth in big and little ways. We do that together, we don’t leave others in Jesus behind. If we leave others behind, in a sense we leave Jesus behind. And we fail to show to the world the full expression of who Jesus is through his Body here and now.
When we work through our differences to acknowledge our relationship in Jesus together, in God’s love through Jesus, and we put first things first, including our unity in Jesus which is offered to all as a gift to be received by faith, we then live out who we actually are: Jesus’ Body for the world. But we first must answer the question, and answer it well.