A non believer questioned the existence of God. He made it clear that at times he felt that he should be more open to the idea; that it was possible that he might be wrong in his position. He said that with help from the Church, he might have better understanding and more to go on. He then asked a question that I find difficult to supply an answer for. It seems that any answer that I could give fails to provide the answer that he seeks. His question was simply “WHOSE CHURCH.” Now I know that there is only one Church, "The Body of Christ"... which I tried to explain. We were still stuck on these points, which I must say, gave me reason for pause. If only one Church, then why so many different Church groups? There is the Catholics, Lutherans, Baptist, Orthodox, etc., and the list goes on. What makes them different, and... who is right. If they are all right then why not form one group? For this person the message from the Church was a confusing one. So for him it remained at “Whose Church.”
Ephesians 4:3-6 (NIV) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
As a Minister one of my goals is to evangelize the non believer. At some point everyone in the body has this as an undertaking. Do we as a Church body make that task more difficult by causing confusion outside the body? Is it that the many divisional Church groups affect the credibility of the Church as a whole? Again the question; "Whose Church"... does it matter, and why? Paul spoke on this very subject; have we moved so far from the advice given us? Even inside a denominational groups there seems to be rivalry and competition. Many of those who hold leadership in the Church today have worked hard to develop a following. When you look at the congregation of some of the mega Churches, you can get an idea of just how much labor went into that effort. I believe that many are sincere and have produced good fruit for God’s Kingdom. On the other hand, I also see a flaw in their methods which should be re-assessed.
1 Corinthians 1:11-13 (NIV) My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?
A Good many of the clergy have made their seats the final stop on the road to salvation. They site the number of their following as a benchmark of their effectiveness. Paul was warning of the danger of this view. At best, it is a Minister’s role to give direction as to where Christ might be found; for the individual must find Him (Christ) for himself. Ministry should function as a sign, pointing in the direction that we may seek Jesus. When the journey stops in the congregation seat; Christ is not found or followed. Matthew 7:14 should ring clear… “few there be that find it.” Personal relationship requires a meeting; to meet Christ is an event that must be a personal and individual experience. None of us can walk the road of salvation unless we follow Christ and Christ alone. The position of any Church group or any Church member, clergy included, should only be to assist in the effort to find Christ.