A Blogger from my wife’s home town of Londonderry wrote the following;
A; ‘That God longs for the church to be united’.
B; ‘I truly believe that a divided church is a weak one’
When I saw these two statements I immediately thought of some television programmes concerning the reformation and the history of the church and I have often mused the concept of why so many denominations?
These denominations, all with different worship styles and different liturgy or no liturgy. Yes, they could all learn from one another as different denominations do different things differently, some better than others. But just why are there so many? The blogger wrote, 'I truly believe that a divided church is a weak one'. Why is it so divided and who is responsible, after all God is Sovereign?
Before Luther there was primarily but just one church of Rome, despotic and corrupt as it was. There had been a number of monastic splits along the way but Luther wanted the church to change and amend it’s ways and recognise is theological errors but they excommunicated him and so the Reformation and Protestantism began.
Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Huldrych Zwingli are considered Magisterial Reformers and from their ministries, other ministries followed, all with a different emphasis. From ministry to ministry, from person to person the church expanded.
Was this a failure of man’s ambitions, each one believing that they knew better than the last? Or did God allow the Church to develop this way? He is after all Sovereign.
God is a Jealous God and an opinion I have considered is that He wants all the glory to go to Him and just as the Tower of Babel was destroyed because man said ‘now we can do anything’ and just as God did not approve of the dictatorial authoritarian Roman Church at that time, he did not want one new large Protestant church either.
God knows his people too well and knows they can’t always be trusted. Mans ambitions exceed God’s purposes. We have seen this in the Mega Churches where the leader’s Alter ego, alters their vision away from serving God to serving themselves.
A united church would also be a politically powerful church. I believe that God wants his purposes to be fulfilled through his almighty power and not the workings of man. Prayers and supplications should be the limit of mans achievements allowing God to take His Glory and to be seen to have been Majestic in His work, throughout His Manifest Purpose.
Yes, men are used by God to be his servants and glorify his Kingdom. Preachers such as Billy Graham in recent years have been greatly used. He is a truly humble man who gave all the Glory to God just as other great preachers in their time have served him faithfully.
In conclusion, the purposes of God are best worked out by those who seek to do his will wherever they find themselves. Not in dissention, but a genuine belief that God has called them to do his will within the ‘light’ that God has given them.