“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” – Paul of Tarsus to the Epeshians (4:11-16)
Even though this passage is only part of Paul’s thought here, and even though I believe we (the church) have lost the true meaning of these ministries listed in the first couple verses, I only want to talk about the part after that list.
Now we all, no matter what our religious/denominational background, talk about unity in the church. Unfortunately, we’re still often united for all the wrong reasons, which is where denominations came from in the first place. We read about mutual ministry here, about the body building itself up in love when it’s working properly. We all are to grow up into Christ, who is the head. No matter what our doctrinal views are, we are to grow up into Christ, together. To disregard this is to reject Jesus’s heart cry when prayed “Father, let them be one, as you and I are one”. No matter what it takes for us to attain to unity in Christ and to share in the community life of God, we have to do it, even if it means leaving our ministries behind or leaving behind buildings people meet in, we have to allow the Spirit to move and Christ to live. Christ holds the whole body (the church) together, nothing else can hold us together.
There’s nothing wrong with having different views about things, but those views can NEVER be our grounds for unity or division.