In a podcast in the White Horse Inn blog four ministers discus how many people are losing interest in evangelical churches. One particular comment that struck me was a statement about how the different evangelical denominations ridicule each other. The podcast said that “there is this kind of sociological stereotyping” when it comes to the way the denominations think of one another. I could not agree more with this statement.
I grew up in a Baptist church with a very traditional type of worship service. I was raised singing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “The Old Rugged Cross” from the 1991 Baptist Hymnal. Seriously, I have flash backs of not being able to see over the pew in front of me when “There’s a Balm in Gilead” is mentioned.
Now, we weren’t your average Baptist church, but it was still in our name. I remember going to choir camps and seeing people’s eyebrows raise at the sound of the word Baptist. And believe you me, the feeling was mutual. I would snort at the Methodists and smirk at the Presbyterians. The thing is, I didn’t know the difference between any of the denominations. All I knew was that we were different and that I had been raised believing that we, as Baptists, were right and everyone else had it wrong.
In what world it is okay to think like this? If we Christians can’t even accept people who have different views within our religion, how can we come across as loving and accepting to people who aren’t Christians? There are approximately 800 million to 1.1 billion Protestants in the world according to Wikipedia. To expect all 800 million to 1.1 billion of these people to agree upon theology is ridiculous, I understand this. However, all of us have the same basic beliefs. Why patronize each other for our small differences?
It’s hard enough for me to believe that Christ wanted Christians to divide up into different groups. Disagreements are inevitable between humans, however being Christ-like and accepting each other despite these differences should not be something lacking in the world. After all, we are supposed to be the salt of the Earth. To do this we must first love one another.
Here’s the link to the podcast mentioned above. http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2012/05/20/whi-1102-the-worship-experience/