This is a continuation of the previous post about heresy and why it has contaminated the church. We all have our opinions of what God wants us to do and believe and we are for the most part not at all tolerant of those who might think differently than we do. It seems when someone has the inherent power to do something about those who disagree with they usually deemed their opponent a heretic and then drive them from their midst. In the post-Constantine age over 25,000 were murdered for not totally aligning with the then current church leader.
I must make it clear that heresy is by no means limited to the pre-Reformation times. Our Protestant brothers and sister have become very good at it. They might not any longer be executing those who they proclaim heretics but they have become very proficient at shunning and dividing when they can’t agree. 39,000 versions of Jesus Christ! Shame on us for fracturing so easily about man-made beliefs. I believe that our fracturing is one of the primary causes for the current church implosion. We as believers are somehow supposed to pick the one true church and then go about shunning all the rest. How can a new Christian even begin maneuver through that terrain?
Jesus clearly told us he wants us to be one just as he and the father are one. What happened? I will be studying that in the coming weeks and report more info then. One of my primary sources for this info is a new book I recently encountered entitled The Fractured Church by Bill Sizemore. It will be interesting to see more info about how we have become so fractured. One interesting question this book presents is will Jesus come to us while we are so fractured or will he do something to bring us back together before his appearance? A question that deserve some time to study and contemplate.
My initial thoughts on the effect of heresy in the church is that it has done almost irreparable damage to the church of Jesus. We have become so stiff-necked in our beliefs that we just can’t tolerate anything representing the diversity that were so common in the early Christians. I truly believe that what makes the United States a world leader is our diversity. We are almost totally the results of immigrants. Likewise the Christian church could become a leader in world spiritual rejuvenation if we simply celebrated diversity in our midst instead of prosecuting it.
Am I saying that there are no reasons that would justify fracturing the church? I am absolutely not saying that! But what I am saying is that it is insane to believe that there are 39,000 reasons to fracture.
The Emergent church movement that I am hanging so much hope on sees this in a completely different light. They deem diversity in thought as a plus. Here is what Robin Meyers in his book The Underground Church says about that:
They (the emergent church) value open and inclusive approaches to Christianity and are less interested in having all the answers than in living the questions. Emergents wish to participate in communities of faith that take the Bible seriously, but not always literally. Emergents believe that following Jesus isn’t just about getting to heaven when they die, but is about partnering with God to bring heaven to earth in the here and now.