After writing the blog last week one of my friends asked me these following questions, "Do you believe that all the different denominations are causing divisions within the body of Christ? Are doctrinal differences overlooking the "Pure Gospel"? How do we reconcile the differences?" Here is my response to these questions!
First question do I believe that all the different denominations are causing divisions within the body of Christ?
Within the Body of Christ (The Church Composed of believers from all time and all nations) it is easy to make the conclusion that the church is divided since there are so many denominations within the Church, yet I do believe that this conclusion is wrong. Why? The very foundation of the Christian message is "The Gospel" (the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus Christ) This is the message that by Gods grace we believe and are declared righteous, and this is the message that by Gods grace we are being made righteous and are enabled to live righteously.
The Gospel is the message that unites and defines all followers of Jesus Christ throughout history. This message should not change with any denomination (for if anyone is to preach a different gospel besides Christ [his death, burial, and resurrection) as the means by which one is redeemed, restored and reconciled he is adding and distorting it's message.
Also, unity does not imply uniformity but unity has diversity, yet amidst of the diversity there is a common point of agreement that is foundational to hold together unity!
Are doctrinal differences overlooking the "Pure Gospel"?
I guess if I were to re-phrase your question it would sound like this "Does doctrine matter?" Of course doctrine matters! for doctrine represents the outflow of our hearts to worship God properly. Good doctrine is never decisive, for good doctrine always points to God and his redemptive work for us through Christ. Although there may be differences in opinion upon non-salvific (not able to save) issues within doctrine, good doctrine always submits to Christ and his "good news" for it only has the power to redeem, reconcile and restore all things [this is the message that saves]. The purpose of doctrine is to point to Christ!
How do we reconcile the differences?
We reconcile these differences through embracing the "gospel" given by God through Christ as the only possible means to redemption. For at the end of the day the gospel is the only message that can redeem us. Within our differences we can unify on the very foundation of Christianity the "Gospel" (The gospel is the key to reconciliation).
I am not saying that doctrine does not matter (it does), but all good doctrines submit to Christ, for doctrines that are Christ-less are doctrines that are useless. I wholeheartedly believe that all followers of Christ should study doctrine within a local community of believers. I believe that we should be constantly measuring these doctrines up to scripture, for it has the final absolute authority.