Friday, November 20, 2009


In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis writes, "If all experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the song of the Church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note."

That would be a boring orchestra, to be sure. In the world in which I grew up, we were taught that the only ones who were right were the ones who saw things the way we did. The true church was fundamentalist, Baptist. and independent, or at the most, part of a particular group of like minded churches. We didn't quite feel that we were the only ones going to heaven, but we were sure that some groups wouldn't be there, or would be far from the Throne.

Over the years, the diversity of the Church became more and more evident. I no longer believe that the different denominations are simply the result of deceived men departing from the "truth." I now believe that the growth of different groups is due, for the most part, to the different ways that people relate to God. Some are quieter and more intellectual in their faith, some are much more expressive and vocal. Some are more free in their worship, while others prefer the structure of liturgy. Different translations and paraphrases speak to different folks. Some people are more contemplative, and others are action oriented.

There are certainly some things which we must all agree on. I'm becoming more and more convinced that those things can be distilled down to "Jesus is Lord," and "Love God with all your being, and love your neighbor as yourself." If those of us who follow Jesus would focus on that, many of the problems created by our perceptions of others would fade. As those problems go away, we would see the diversity in the Church for what it is; a beautiful tapestry that shows the grace of our Father, a symphony of heavenly music.


Kansas Bob said...

Magnificent post! I loved the imagery of a symphony.. seems a lot like the imagery of the body of Christ. This is very insightful:

"the growth of different groups is due, for the most part, to the different ways that people relate to God"

That thought is very representative of what it means to embrace each other in grace.

co_heir said...

Thanks for the comment. I would love to see what would happen if the Church ever totally embraced the idea of unity in diversity.

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