06 April, 2007

Union With Christ Equals Communion of Saints

The Church of Christ is divided in our day. We have invented the sin called denominationalism as a means to justify the division that we have brought upon ourselves. The true Church of Christ is one. She is one in truth, one in spirit, one in the bond of peace and unity.

How often do we commune with those that we do not feel deserve our fellowship? How often do we esteem others lower than ourselves only to set up idols of our own person? How often do slander, injure, and assault the very body of Christ; even in his name?

When one has been united to the Lord Jesus Christ through justification he should seek reconciliation with fellow believers out of duty. We, who are the Church, are united to Christ and, in a sense, united with each other. The Apostle Paul was clear on this when he spoke of the many members. Does the hand say to the foot, I have no need of you?

Seek peace with the household of God. Seek unity of mind and heart. It has been said that through division and hatred, many Sabbath worship services have had Christians murdering other Christians through their mutual thoughts and feelings. Seek peace. Seek unity. Seek communion of the saints as an outworking of union with Christ.

See how fearful a sin it is to abuse the saints. It is an injury done to Christ, for believers are mystically one with him: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4). When the body was wounded, the Head, being in heaven, cried out. In this sense, men crucify Christ afresh (Heb. 6:6), because what is done to his members is done to him. If Gideon was avenged upon those who slew his brethren, will not Christ much more be avenged on those that wrong his spouse (Judges 8:21)? Will a king tolerate having his treasure rifled, his crown thrown in the dust, his queen beheaded? Will Christ bear with the affronts and injuries done to his bride? The saints are the apple of Christ's eye (Zech. 2:8), and let those who strike at his eye answer for it. Isa 49:26 "I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine" (Isa. 49:26). -Thomas Watson


Notliberal said...

Is this your way of telling us you think we should stay in the ARP? :)

Mark said...

Awesome post, Nate. I don't necessarily see a problem with different denominations, but too many are ready to split at the drop of a hat. There's a real refusal to submit to each other, and the results are disastrous.

It's one of the things I like the most about the community Good Friday service - people from all sorts of churches joining together for worship. Granted, it's just a spectrum of Reformed folk, so not as broad as it could be, but it's pretty cool to see anyway.

Nate said...

Steve: No. Seeking membership in the RPCNA is seeking unity in truth- what we have in the ARP is not based on truth since we have different views on worship (that is a big one).

I do have some questions about whether the ARP should have ever begun. In 1782 when they joined it was with full understanding that there were Associate Presbyterians who would not come in as well as Reformed Presbyterians who would not come in. Thus making 3 denominations out of 2..all in the name of unity.
The RPCNA and the APC lived happily alongside the ARP for years...in the mid 1960s the remaining Associate Presbyterians (4 congregations I believe was all that was left) merged with the RPCNA- and as I like to tell Rev.Lanning, at that point the RPCNA became the TRUE ARP! ;)

Ideally I would like to see ONE Reformed and Presbyterian Church in America...but that is for a different post.

Mark- I like the community Good Friday service for that as well. I listened at home this year and found 2 or 3 to be REALLY good. Too bad that these churches will not commune (or discuss differences) at other times of the year.

But the overall point is UNITY in TRUTH and mutual care for the Bride.

Truth Seeker said...

Don't you see the slightest bit of hypocrisy in saying that Christians should seek unity with those in other denominations who we don't agree with everything on and then suggesting that the ARP shouldn't even exist? You seem to be a zealot for the RPCNA and in that you are comitting the sin in which you ridicule in your post.

Nate said...

Truth Seeker

I understand where this would look odd. I have tension in my mind about the ARP. They knew that some APs and some RPs would not join, thus making the union a further division in the body of Christ, and no union at all.

I obviously recognize that the ARP is a legit Christian denomination. I am a member of it and both of my children have ARP baptisms.

I am entitled to some questions I would assume. The historic ARP is not much different than the RPCNA.

Does that help?