How About Them Apples?
I was eating an apple the other day when I thought, you know, there are dozens of different types of apples. Red Delicious. Granny Smith. MacIntosh. Cortland. Fuji. Pink Lady. Honeycrisp. It seems as if every time I go to Stop ‘n’ Shop there is a new one I didn’t know about. I remember I had to try a Jazz apple. I like jazz so I thought I’d try the apple.
Similarly, there are a lot of different Christian churches. In Hartford alone, we have over two hundred churches. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary tells us there are over 34,000 different Christian denominations worldwide. Wow. That’s a lot. The reasons why there are so many different expressions of Christian faith varies but the one thing that they all agree upon is Jesus is Lord. We may understand communion, baptism, or spiritual gifts differently but the one thing that we share is faith in Jesus.
In fact, when the Bible mentions “the church” it is not referring to any specific group. Not Catholic, or Presbyterian, or Baptist, or Congregational. God means all believers worldwide. Galatians 3:28 clearly spells it out. “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” It’s okay Christians are different. God loves variety. He made Ruppell’s griffon vulture which can fly as high as 37,000 feet and He made penguins which cannot fly at all. How many different types of flowers are there? Do you have a favorite? I like lilacs. What about monkeys? There are 260 different species of monkeys in the world today. The point is clear. God enjoys variety. You are certainly one of a kind. Created by God in His image.
If you believe the Bible. The virgin birth of Jesus. That Christ’s death was the atonement for sin. The bodily resurrection of Jesus, and that His miracles really happened. You are a Christian. You are a brother or sister of mine. Jesus, Himself, asked in Matthew 12, “‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ Then he pointed to his disciples and said, ‘Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:48-50)!
For me, the best apples there are – are the ones in a pie! The best Christians are the ones who do the will of God. Episcopal, Assemblies of God, Pentecostal, Seventh-day Adventist, Methodist, or Lutheran. It doesn’t matter. God loves variety.
We humans spend far too much time dividing each other based on our differences. Race, age, gender, ethnicity, economic status, etc. God did not create difference to create division. That’s all on us. God loves variety and so should we.
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