Mark 9:38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 Whoever is not against us is for us. 41 For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.”
Exclusivistic Traditionalism – ET.
Few things dishearten me more than the divisive spirit of judgmental exclusivism. From the time I was a very young man (many years ago) this practice among Christians has always troubled my heart, to put it mildly.
Now don’t misunderstand me, the Scripture does, at a fundamental level, teach us to be exclusive – salvation comes through the name of Jesus only. “There is no other name by which man can be saved…”, Acts 4:12. Tradition is good – when it honors the Lord Jesus. It’s when we become exclusive on something other than the Lord Jesus and when tradition takes on an “ism”; i.e. supersedes Scripture, that the trouble begins. It is at this point that ET rears it’s ugly head. Just when it seems believers are beginning to truly come together in Christ against a culture that continues to stand firmly against Him, ET strikes. Why do we turn against others who are sincerely seeking the Lord Jesus and longing to bring unity in Him? Why are we so quick to turn our guns on each other and yet so slow to open our mouths to confess the Name of Jesus? I don’t get it. The sad thing is that we are often better at dividing than uniting.
John 17:20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Jesus Himself prayed for unity among all of those who would some day place their faith in Him. Unity among believers. What a prayer! As he faced death on a cross with the burden of our sin upon Him, He prayed not only for those who were already trusting in Him and believing in Him but He also prayed for us – those who in the future; i.e. now and tomorrow, through the word of His apostles, the Scripture and the Holy Spirit would place their faith in Him.
Know this: The prayer of the Lord Jesus WILL be answered.
Shouldn’t we long to be a part of the answer to this prayer? Why would we ever want to work against this prayer?
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not talking about chunking important convictions or traditions relevant to our own congregations and denominations. I’m talking about coming together across walls, traditions and preferences in the Name of Jesus. I’m talking about participating in God’s answer to Lord Jesus’ prayer. Being One with Christ in Christ. We will never, ever agree on everything. (I’m not even sure we’ll agree on everything in Heaven – but that’s a different article.) But we can openly agree on one thing: Jesus Christ is Lord of All. Someday,every knee in Heaven, on earth and under the earth will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Why not start now?!
Cooperation in Christ not congregational competition. Acceptance of those who trust in Christ not rejection of those who differ in the details. A spirit of warmth and encouragement for those who have cast their lot with the Lord, not a cold, judgmental attitude toward those who don’t see things exactly as we do. Who does see spiritual things or anything for that matter exactly as we do? I certainly haven’t met the person who has it as right as I do (*joking*). What other person on this earth sees things exactly as you do in any area of life, especially in the area of faith? You arrived in the congregation and denomination of which you are a participant through the leading of God and most likely because you truly believe it has a good, solid, Biblical approach. That’s how most everyone who is serious about their faith chooses a congregation/denomination. God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Who made me or you smarter than everyone else in the Kingdom? None of us are totally right on all matters. It is not correctness that “adds” us to the Kingdom. If it is then I’m doomed. The only way any of us is made “right” is by entrusting ourselves to Christ. He has become the righteousness of God to us. He adds us to His church. (Now stepping down from my soapbox.)
We must be Kingdom minded not denominationally stifled. The Kingdom of God is bigger than we can ever imagine and typically bigger than we define it. God defines His church and grants membership – not us. Our goal is to encourage this body from within and encourage others to join who are without. We must stand shoulder to shoulder in this battle for the advancing Kingdom. The gates of Hell will not prevail against the advancing Kingdom of Christ’s church. Let’s stick together and fight the enemy instead of demonizing our brothers and sisters in the faith and fighting against ourselves.
The grace, peace and power of Christ to you today!
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these, F28 take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints
Jesus is Lord.