I’m different. I know I’m different. Why? Because I consider all of God’s words to be living, active, and relevant to today, and I don’t think that we should add to His words, or take away from them.
But why should that make someone different? Don’t we all think that what I just said is okay? Unfortunately, though most will agree with that statement, when it comes to real life, actions don’t follow.
I’d been attending a Christian Bible study for the last year. I wanted both the fellowship and the opportunity to discuss God’s word with others who follow Yeshua (Jesus). About a week ago, before the study started up again, the leader of the study came to visit me. We had a good chat, but his visit was not about anything good. I was being asked to not come back to the study as there were some in the study that did not want me there.
Odd. This is the same study where, when the topic of unity in the church came up, a couple of the people stated that they don’t see any disunity. How can the same group then ask someone to leave? I have ‘confessed’ Yeshua (Jesus) as Lord and salvation and have done nothing ‘wrong’, yet am asked to leave. This got me to thinking.
Yeshua (Jesus) prayed, as recorded in the book of John, and asked the Father to ‘make us one as he and the Father are one.’ In other words, he prayed for ‘unity’ for his followers.
I realized that many confuse ‘unity’ and ‘conformity’. Those in that group that didn’t want fellowship with me are looking for conformity. Because I didn’t have all the same beliefs that they have, they felt justified in asking me to leave. Very sad – for them!
Unity is not conformity!
When we restrict ourselves to only fellowshipping with those we completely (or almost completely) agree with, we deny ourselves of chances to grow; opportunities of practicing love and unity; and missing out on God’s presence.
Churches want to see themselves as unique (I don’t know why), and come up with sets of their own rules and ‘statements of belief.’ Why isn’t the Bible the statement of belief? Why do we have to believe in one doctrine or the other to belong to a church? I’m quite glad that, at the gates of heaven, there won’t be any questions as to what doctrine we believe (save possibly for teachers, as they are held to higher standards).
Rather, our life will be judged by and through Yeshua (Jesus). When our lives show that we are following him, and we confess that he came in the flesh and is our Lord, that is enough.
So why isn’t that enough to warrant fellowship with one another? What do you think?
P.S.: By the way, I’m used to not fitting into groups. Christian groups don’t accept me because I’m Jewish – not Christian. Jewish groups don’t accept me because I follow Yeshua (Jesus) as the promised messiah and my salvation. There are exceptions.
8 thoughts on “Unity or Conformity?”
Just yesterday, l was reflecting on why a group of Christians l have fellowshipped with since my adolescence will reject me and push me out because l generally uphold to scriptural truth, and a proper hermeneutics. I was feeling kind of alone but Holy Spirit whispered to me ” rejoice, a servant is never above her Master”. That consoled me.
Now reading this post, and the comments Jim shared. Fills me with hope and renewed vigor. Jesus was rejected for no reason at all except for contending for the Truth. Shalom!
It does hurt when we are rejected, especially when it is from brothers and sisters rejecting us because of how we read the scriptures. Never forget, though, that most of them are still your brothers and sisters; just misguided by a religious system that was built up upon the Bible. Just like the religious system that was built up on the Torah in Yeshua’s (Jesus’) time. And it did indeed reject Yeshua (Jesus) for stating the truth, and we aren’t above Yeshua, as you state, so it will happen to us also. Very good points you make.
When this happens to us, it highlights the joy we have when we can fellowship with believers who are not judgemental and bound by the doctrines of their church.
Shalom – and may Yehovah continue to guide you into the wonders of His word! – Yosef
Quite a valid perspective. I pretty much agree. My family and I don’t fit ANYWHERE – not even among fellow Messianics!
I’m sorry to hear that you and your family don’t fit in anywhere. It isn’t easy. I understand that. Yet we are called to love our brothers and sisters, without judgment. In the end, we are all followers of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), and answer to Yah alone. May Yahovah give you and your family peace and strength and fellowship! Shalom. – Yosef
I’m quite used to it by now. Been that way since I was a kid. It generally doesn’t bother me. I’ve got a large family, so got plenty of company!
Good to hear. A large family, be it children, siblings, or parents, is a great blessing.
Shalom my friend, – Yosef
No wife or children yet, but 2 parents and 7 siblings. Very little boredom!
🙂 – may Yehovah bless you with a wife of excellent character!