In his Letter to the Ephesian Church, Paul admonishes from prison the unity of the Body of Christ. These words from the 4th chapter speak to the churches of our day as well:

“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.”

It has been estimated that there are more than 1,100 Protestant denominations and independent worshiping communities in the United States, in addition to the Roman Catholic Church (which claims to be the One True Church).

And now the great denomination, the United Methodist Church, is in danger of becoming a Divided Methodist Church, as Presbyterians and Lutherans and many other denominations have long since done, and continue to ignore or deny the unity of the Body of Christ, which we claim to embrace.

We must seek God’s forgiveness and take seriously Paul’s benediction in verse 21 of the previous third chapter:

“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

May it be so as we look to the future of Christ’s Church in the days and years ahead, no longer allowing human issues to continue to injure and divide Christ’s Body.

 
David Tritenbach is a retired Presbyterian minister. 

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