God has taken me on a bit of a journey in the past few years... not sure where it is all going, but I'll try recording some of it here.
I've identified myself as a Christian since I was a young child. I grew up a pastor's kid. My parents worked with Village Missions, which placed us in small interdenominational churches in very small villages in northern Manitoba and Alberta. Until the past few years my view of Christ's Church was limited to conservative protestant evangelical churches like Baptists, Alliance, and other congregations who refer to themselves as 'Bible believing'. I didn't have much exposure to people following Christ from other church traditions, so I assumed that my limited view was the best and only view.
My journey started changing course with a read of "Exploring Church History" by Perry Thomas. It explored 20 centuries of Christ's people - highlighting the good and bad that have been done in the name of Christ during each era. I recognized that Christ's church was alive and well long before any current trends in christianity. Throughout history Christ followers have been part of many different traditions and denominations, and much good has been done by the different groups. Perry Thomas also highlighted the current movement that God has been placing on the hearts of many to bring His fragmented Church back into fellowship with each other.
My journey then continued by trying to gain respect and understanding of some of the other major denominations that I had previously had little understanding of. During these years we struggled with questions like:
- "which church is best?"
- "How can there be 30,000 denominations that share the same core message of Jesus, yet have differences that keep them apart."
- What can be done in response to Christ’s Prayer for His followers in John 17:20-23 (NIV) "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you 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. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. "
OK... I can see this blogging thing is going to take some time. I'll post more later...