Unity, Part I

Today is October 1. There was quite a significant sermon today at church.  Loren Scott preached the sermon.  He made a comment early on that, until today, of all the times that he had preached or taught in the congregation, that his most important sermon was the one following Sept. 11, 2001.  I agree.  It was one of the best sermons that I had ever heard.  It was the most calming thing that you could imagine given the collective shock that we were in as a nation.  Loren is a fantastic speaker, both in his secular job and at church.  He is quite a Bible scholar and is a great man of character as well: I highly respect him.

So, Loren went on to say that today’s sermon was more important than the 9/11 one.  Having heard it, I agree.  The Lord really blessed him; he did a wonderful job with some extremely difficult material.  The subject was: Unity in the Restoration Movement.  Now, I cannot tell you how many times that I have thought many of the things that were in that sermon.  During my time in the Church of Christ (since 4/30/89), at times I could hardly believe the things that would cause congregations to split or condemn each other.  It is no wonder that the movement is in decline.  Jesus said in Matthew 12 that a house divided could not stand.  Boy, was he EVER right!

The unfortunate occasion for the sermon today is that this year is the 100th anniversary of the official split between the Churches of Christ and the Independent Christian Churches (Instrumental).  Another motivator for the sermon is that we are planning to build and move to a new church building in two years or so, and such times of transition can wreak havoc on the unity of a congregation.  All in all the sermon was very timely.   The educational part of it was fascinating.  Some details of the Restoration Movement’s beginning were outlined.  The two principal figures, Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell, each headed up movements to drop sectarianism (i.e., all creeds and prior denominational associations) and simply be Christians in name and nature.  At some point, the movements joined DESPITE several differences on certain issues.  The bottom line, though, was that there was agreement on Jesus and on unity (something that was HIGHLY valued by Jesus — read John chapter 17, if you don’t think so).  I have read one book on this a few years ago; it was by Leonard Allen of Abilene Christian University (at that time) called Distant Voices.  The interesting thing I learned from the book was that, if many of the Church of Christ people that I knew read the book, they would have rejected Stone and Campbell as heretics!!!  Oh, we have come SO far from unity.  It is truly sad.

I have MANY thoughts on this sermon that will need another post (or 2, or 3, … not sure just yet).  I just wanted to get the ball rolling.

Published in: on October 2, 2006 at 3:09 am  Leave a Comment  

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