Unity, Denominations, Sting Theory-捷安特xtc750

Religion The problem of finding the oneness in diversity was a primary concern of Plato. Basically stated, the problem of the one and the many begins from the assumption that there is a unifying factor that operates in the background of things, that unity and oneness are real, and that there is a reliable consistency at the center of things. Plato was seeking a philosophical unity or an underlying principle of unity and identity. Paul was identify that unifying factor when he wrote of the body as an example of God’s trinitarian character. Early Greek philosophers thought the unifying factor might be material, such as fire, or water, or air, or earth, or atoms. Others thought it might be an idea, such as number, or mind. Various Greek philosophers are associated with each of these ideas. Paul, continuing to criticize Greek philosophy in his letter to the Corinthians, was working to establish what that one unifying factor was. It was not air, earth, fire, water or atoms. It was not number or mind. It was — and still is, said Paul, God, manifest in Jesus Christ. In short, the doctrine of the Trinity tells us that the unifying thing in the universe is God, who exists in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is God who holds all things together in unity and in diversity. It is God who has created and given definition to all things. It is God who remains constant through time. God gives identity to things just as God creates the parts or elements that things are composed of. Philosophy in the Western world — Greek Philosophy — begins with this concern (the one and the many). The earliest Greek philosophers mainly concerned themselves with this conundrum, but they could not solve the problem. Philosophy has not been able to solve this problem, not the ancient Greeks, not the Indians or Chinese, not the pagans or Muslims, not the Moderns or Postmoderns. As a result, the problem of the one and the many still dominates our understanding of the universe, including modern physics, which has set for itself the goal of finding the theory that will unify the laws of physics. This was the quest that drove Albert Einstein to continue to delve deeper and deeper into the world of physics. It is not a fluke of an idea, but has played a very important role in the world — and it still does. Perhaps you have heard of String Theory, which is an attempt to solve this very problem at the subatomic level. But we don’t need to go there. We don’t need to follow the String Theorists. Rather, we will follow Paul. And Paul says two things that relate to this concern. First, he said that God gives differing gifts to His people and that it is the "same Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:4) that "empowers them all in everyone" (1 Corinthians 12:6). God manifests Himself in His people through various spiritual gifts. And, in spite of the differing gifts that people have, the Lord who manifests them is one. God’s unity is maintained in spite of the different manifestations of gifts. Those gifts are manifested in the bodies of different believers, yet they are merely different parts or aspects of one Spirit. The gifts are given through our bodies, and yet our bodies are parts of the body of Christ, the greater body to which we belong, in which we have a greater identity, our true identity in Christ. Paul said that though there are many different bodies that belong to many different people, the different gifts that each body has constitute the unity of the body of Christ. In Christ, those differing gifts are parts of Christ’s body — His church. Do you see it? Christ is the unifying factor. Christ, the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit is the glue that provides Christian unity, that holds all Christians together in the one body of Christ, though composed of different people with different gifts. We don’t have to work to establish Christian unity. It is not a function of denominational administration. It is simply given. It is given through the differing gifts. It is a function of the Trinity. So, where those gifts are, there is unity. And where those gifts are not, there is no unity. And the one identifying thing about God’s gifts is that they all pull in the same direction, toward the same goal and/or purpose. They are all working together toward the same end, with the same Spirit through the manifestation of the same Lord, who is Jesus Christ. And yet, denominational separation is a reality, but it is not an ultimate reality. It is important, but not ultimately important. It is not as important as the gifts of God, not as important as the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. Denominations are not as real as the gifts given to God’s people. And where denominations do not pull together toward God’s purposes, the denominational unity they express is less real, less important than the unity of gifts that all pull in the service of God’s purposes. Paul does not speak of denominations as the elements of Christian unity. He speaks of gifts, which are the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. At the same time Paul warns us of gift envy, of jealousy and opposition among Christians. We don’t all have the same gifts. That’s not the way that God has designed things. We are all different. God has provided for specialization, for the division of labor. The division of labor is an essential element of human society, and particularly for the development and use of science and technology. The division of labor provides for maximum social development because it provides for maximum skill specialization. We can’t all be eyes or ears, hands or feet. Rather, we each must develop our unique gift, which provides for our unique identities as unique individuals. Our individuality, our uniqueness is tied to the gifts that God has given us. The strength of the chain (church) is dependent upon the weakest link (person). The chain is a whole, a unit, though it is composed of many links. Each link of a chain must be in unity, in relationship with the other links. The strength of the chain is dependent upon the relationship between the links. And so it is with the body, as well. The strength of the body requires that the parts of the body have strong relationships with one another. Each part is in relationship with each other part, some relationships are closer than others, but all must be strong — real, personal, hearty, familiar — in order that "that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another" (1 Corinthians 12:25). This mutual care and concern is a critical issue that Paul will address in 1 Corinthians 13.. The unity of the body, as the unity of the universe, is a function of love. God loves the world and His love holds the world together. God’s love is the unifying factor in the laws of physics. Similarly, in like fashion, inasmuch as we are created in the image of God, we must love one another because our mutual love — our mutual concern, our mutual attachment, our mutual bond — helps hold the body of Christ together. In an ultimate sense, Christ alone holds it together. But in a practical, relative sense, the glue of God’s church is the bond of love and fellowship between the members. Friends love each other, but when they argue and fight, the friendship is ruined. Friends fight and walk away from each other. In contrast, family members also love each other, but when families argue and fight, the family relationship remains in tact. Families find it much more difficult to walk away from each other. And even when they do, the family relationship remains for life. Family relationships cannot be undone. Christian fellowship is more like family relationships than friendships in this regard, except stronger. The bonds of Christian fellowship are stronger and more durable than friendships, even more durable than family relationships. Relationships in Christ are as strong and durable as Christ Himself. Our relationship with Christ is as strong and as eternal as Christ because we are held in that relationship by the love of Christ for us, and not merely by our own love for Christ. Our love is weak and fickle, Christ’s is not. Our love is temporal, worldly. Christ’s is eternal, heavenly. When Paul wrote to the Romans he said that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Nothing, not "tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword" (Romans 8:35). This is the bond that holds Christ’s church together in unity. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: