Lacy Hardee

As many debates rise up in politics, so do they raise their ugly heads in religion. And no, I’m not talking about between religious groups or Baptist versus Catholic or Methodist versus Presbyterian.

What I’m referring to is Christian versus Christian. It happens everyday. Certain church members feel that if you don’t belong to a specific denomination, you must not be a Christian. And then to top it off, some go so far as to belittle another church or faith. Not very Christian-like, I say.

So what if the service is not what you are accustomed to, the music is different, and people aren’t dressed to the nines? We all serve the same God. We all believe that Jesus, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life for 33 years, died on the cross for our sins, and resurrected on the third day and sits on the right hand God in a place prepared for all who believe in Him.

We also believe that the Bible is truly God-breathed inspiration and direction for the believer. It is in those pages we find how Jesus lived, and it is His example, as Christians, we are to follow.

The divisions that exist in the religious world do not represent what God wants, according to the Bible. Jesus prayed, concerning all believers, "That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me" (John 17:21).

Jesus prayed for unity among believers. Therefore, when we see the divisions (denominations) that exist among those professing faith in Christ, then we know it is not what Jesus wants.

Sadly, the consequences of such division result in the world disbelieving in Jesus. This is what Jesus said would happen. It is no wonder that there is so much confusion and disbelief.

The common thought is that if you are a member of any church, then you must be a member of a denomination. This is not true. It is possible to be just a Christian without being a member of a denomination.

Read the New Testament. During the first century A.D., when the events of the New Testament were taking place, there were not a bunch of various denominations. There were Christians in various locations. In their own locations, they would meet with other Christians in order to carry out work that God desired for them to do together.

But when one became a Christian, he or she did not have to become anything else. A Christian was just that (Acts 11:26), and there is nothing in the Bible to support the idea of joining a denomination. In fact, God directly spoke against fragmenting off into various groups and identifying with certain creeds or men.

By inspiration, the apostle Paul wrote,"Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.

“Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).

Jesus and His life, death, burial and most importantly His resurrection are what separate our belief in God’s Word from any other “religion.”

Jesus is the common denominator to the Christian belief. He shared His life and love of the Father with all, no matter their denomination, race, or social status. Jesus multiplies and Satan divides. Do the math.

It’s His birthday, a birthday like no other. His actual birth date may be debatable, but His gift to all of us is not.

Celebrate, but don’t separate. He sees us all the same.

Merry Christmas.

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