Sunday, June 16, 2019

Unity, But at What Cost?

    Twenty years before the Civil War began, Abraham Lincoln was warning of the dangers of an America divided over the issue of slavery.   In a speech in 1838 he said; "Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow?  Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.  At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected?  I answer.  If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad.  If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.  As a nation of free men we must live through all time or die by suicide." 

Two years before he was elected as President of the United States, his speeches became even more emphatic. "A house divided against itself, cannot stand.  I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free."  Of course, the phrase,  "A house divided against itself, cannot stand" are the words of Jesus found in the Gospels. 
 It was abundantly clear to Lincoln that the downfall of this Nation could only come from a collapse from within, not from a defeat by a foreign power.  He believed that the core value that was needed to keep America free was freedom for all Americans, even if took war.  What had started out as a conflict over keeping the Union together had finally centered on the real problem, slavery.  There could be no compromise.

So what is the point I am attempting to communicate with this book?  The point is simply, but seriously this, the greatest danger to the Church is not from outside forces.  The Church itself is losing its way.  We are slowly forgetting why we exist as the Church.  We are in danger of drifting away from our core values, our bedrock foundation. Our foundation is Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, the One and Only Savior of the World.  Churches across America fiercely argue over things like: music style, building architecture, stage lighting, which Bible versions are the best (King James vs. New American Standard, just to name a few).  Yet many churches are willing to compromise on the core issue, Jesus Christ, and who He is.  He is the Rock of the Church.  The Gospel of John says it in the most powerful, uncompromising terms, "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me."  John 14:6

The World is asking the Church to compromise and accept the belief that there are many other gods and many different ways to heaven.  There are even some Christians who would say for the sake of World Religious Unity to make this small concession.  This we cannot do.  The words of John's Gospel are clear, " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."  John 1:1,14

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