'What if well-funded megachurches decided to see some home-based faith communities as partners in ministry, so they could overlap and share resources and not see one another as enemies or even alternatives, but as two expressions of the same thing? That takes us in the direction I think we need to go, and will be good for the whole range of faith communities.'
I find that quote very exciting. I have never looked at other denominations in this light before and it brings a whole new view from which we can all work together. The problem comes, of course, when we see 'our church' as the 'right' way of 'doing church' instead of a different expression of people who are trying to following Jesus.
What would happen if we tried to follow this model? I think we would be closer to what Jesus prayed in John 17:
I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
'...that they may become completely one...' I see in this phrase the notion that there will be differences with each other. And that's natural because we are all different. So, this to me, shows that the different expressions of the church becoming completely one is a process. It's going to take time. But the question is, are we working toward that completeness? Are we making strives to show the 'world', i.e., those outside the church, that we are all actually different expressions of the same thing? That we accept different Christian traditions as our brothers and sisters? I pray that this is so.
I can almost hear the cries now. 'But they believe in predestination!' Or, 'They believe in free will!' Or, 'They believe in speaking in tongues!' Or, 'They don't believe the Eucharist actually becomes the body and blood of Jesus!' Or, 'They don't even call it the Eucharist!' And the list goes on and on and on ad nauseam. But do you notice what these are? These are all secondary issues. What we have done is we have taken secondary issues and promoted them to primary issues. Therefore, because of our sudo-primary issues have been looked down upon, we feel we have the right to split the local church; to mutilate the body of Christ. What we must do, family, is remove this pride in ourselves and realize that those sudo-primary issues are just that -- false primary issues. We need to get back to the real primary issues. What are they? The Nicene Creed contains the primary issues. If there is an expression of Christ's body that believes that, then everything else is a secondary issue. Sure, the secondary issues can be debated over, and should be. But they should never, never, be used to dismember the precious body of our Lord Jesus. Those secondary issues, those differences, are there to help the body of Christ reach the world. They should not be seen as a dividing line. Through the Providence of our Lord, those secondary issues have been given to the church to help implement God's kingdom on earth.
So instead of letting those secondary issues divide us, we should see them as different expressions of the same thing and work toward becoming completely one.
Peace be with you.