The subjects of love and unity dominate the Letters of the Apostles Paul, Peter and John to the New Testament Church.  The early Church, made up of incredibly diverse, ordinary-sinners-turned-saints.  These people were different culturally and politically.  They were different in their religious and secular lives.  The balance of the Apostles’ exhortation was polemic in that they were all arguing for the unity of the Spirit and the love of the Father exampled and commanded by Jesus.  I believe that a close read of those letters will reveal that God is much more concerned about Love and unity amongst His people, than many of the other sins we are always making a pile about.
The Apostles refuted anything that attacked the core doctrines of Jesus.  Their letters were written to solve the problems in the Church that resulted from not applying the First and Second Commandments given by Jesus.  They wrote to help the baby Church live in such away that caused God’s people to once again be together “filled with awe … praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. So the Lord could once again add to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-27).   
Read the gospels and see what to do by watching Jesus.  Read the Letters and see how to get back on track when the Church doesn’t follow Jesus.  In fact, other than loving God and serving Christ, the message of the Apostles was almost always to guard the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  A Church with immature people came together to form a radical life-statement for Christ.  Not to delineate a bunch of religious rhetoric that lead to divisions among them.  Minus the technology, the early Church was made up of people very much like us.
I’ve learned that the extremes we most often fight about are most always wrong, and ironically, they are usually closer that we think.  The only things about which we are to be extreme are loving God greatly and loving others as ourselves.  I don’t see any other pattern in the life and ministry of Jesus.  I believe that He should be our primary pattern, not Paul, not Peter, not Billy Graham, or MacDonald’s. 
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. (2 Cor 13:14, NKJV)
(Don’t know if this will be continued …)
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Confessions of a Bad Evangelical Pt 5