Wednesday, August 12, 2009

8-13; Need for Unity in the church

(Strasburg Cathedral- Calvin learned of church unity under Bucer of Strasburg)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

8/13- Unity in the Church

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 13- Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? (I Corinthians 1:10,13).

Calvin: The church is called “catholic” or “universal”, because there could not be two or three churches unless Christ be torn asunder- which cannot happen! But all the elect are so united in Christ that as they are dependent on one Head, they also grow together into one body, being joined and knit together as are the limbs of a body. They are made truly one since they live together in one faith, hope, and love, and in the same Spirit of God. For they have been called not only into the same inheritance of eternal life, but also to participate in one God and Christ. (Inst. IV.1.2).

The true Church is not made of one denomination. Heaven will be populated by many different flavors of Christians. When we think of a denomination of money- we may think of a $10, $20, $5, $100 bill. But they are all money- all legal tender. So there are many different denominations of churches yet they are all part of God’s currency. In our day, many have left the church altogether over church controversies. He things that united the church in America a generation ago, are now fading. The idea of the Bible as the Word of God has come under the guise of higher criticism and distrust. There is a general distrust of bureaucracy and authority- so that many prefer non-denominational churches, and there is a rebellion against institutions in general. But the problem is that as soon as three people or more get together, they begin to make rules in order to keep the peace. There is no perfect church, but we are called to be with others in the church. Calvin made tremendous efforts to unite the church. He met with Lutherans and Catholics, Huguenots, Polish, Slavic and Swiss leaders. He attended many conferences to try to bring the church together. Church unity was important to him as it should be to us. Too many have little loyalty or sense of the need for devotion to a church today in America

Prayer: By your grace, O Lord, unite the church and unite us to the church.

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