At one of our worship services on Sunday, a practicing Buddhist (yes he has been attending our church for about 2 months) asked me why there are so many branches and denominations of Christianity. Why are you guys so fragmented? Why do you have so many Bibles?
Then he said something that stabbed my heart:
“And it’s no wonder why young people in America are running away from your churches.”
After I got over my initial defensiveness, I was able to express my quick view and explain how I see things differently. I am not an overly denominational guy, although I do belong to a particular tribe (Church of God). I don’t see a great denominational divide, at least not as much as there used to be. The particular areas where I am involved are not defined according to sects or labels. I see a lot of people from a lot of backgrounds doing the work of the Lord.
But I see his point. We give ammunition to our detractors. Every time a church splits, the reputation of Jesus suffers. When denominations fight publicly, we all pay for it. When two Christians squabble like little children, we chase people away from Christ.
Let’s get it together. Get over your pettiness. Stop the wars between churches. If you have something against another Christ-follower – forgive and move on.
I am praying that my Buddhist friend comes to Jesus. I am hoping that our behavior inspires that.