I am Mudcat Stew.
This is my first official blog post ever. I am very excited about that. To give you a little background, I am an Evangelical Christian and am a member of a local Southern Baptist church.
I have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people in the course of my life. Some I have met through forums such as this one, others in my daily work and social life. Many claim Christ but their beliefs vary from mine on different points. Yet as I see it, every one I have talked of Christ with ... Catholics, Orthodox, Mainline Protestants, Evangelicals, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Pentecostals and so forth. Seems all share a profound love and respect for their Savior. Yet despite this common love of Christ, our variant beliefs cordon us off from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
I think the subject I am bringing up is a rather difficult one, but one that can hopefully be discussed. One general problem I see, is that nearly all faiths basic solution is for everyone to come round to what they believe. Hopefully you are as cognizant of the fact as I am, that this is an unlikely scenario in any temporal sense.
Recognizing that, I would posit Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:1-7 that "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism,One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."
This statement is a powerful one that I read quite often. Looking at the text, I think it is pretty obvious that Christianity as a whole has done a fairly poor job of it. Sometimes it just makes me want to curl up in my nice cozy ecclesiastical ball and pull the shutters closed on the rest of the world.
In fact many people do just that, however I think this sort of thinking seems to be a bit contrary to Paul's encouragement to be longsuffering and forbearing one another in love. Such language seem to imply the challenge of such unity.
Please note, I plan to give you my own thoughts about the questions I have asked below in future blog posts. Your comments on them, or anything I have said so far, are more than welcome.
- Given the current state of things, how are we to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?
- What are the biggest hurdles we as Christian's face?
- What are some possible solutions to surmount them?