I don’t think you have to be a prophet or a doctor in theology to realize that the Body of Christ is painfully divided. We should also quickly add that this issue of unity is not to be taken lightly. In John chapter 17 we see Jesus earnestly praying for us, as God’s children, to be one. The issue of unity in the Body of Christ is not a recommendation; it is indeed an obligation. Our disunity is a direct disrespect to God’s Word.
Many people have spoken about the importance of unity in the church for hundreds of years. It seems like these voices are growing more and more fatigue. The unity of the Body of Christ looks like an impossible task to say the least.
The church was united during the times of the Apostles, but that unity was challenged from the beginning with the introduction of false teachers, false prophets and false doctrines. As you read the Epistles of the Apostles you can clearly see that the fight for the unity of the Body was intense from the beginning.
For the first three hundred years after Christ, the Church suffered a brutal persecution; but the church was growing and its power was clear. Things changed after Constantine declared Christianity, the official religion of the Roman Empire 312 years after Christ. This was the beginning of a very sophisticated plan of the enemy to seduce the church to mix in with the world.
This takes me to another important note on these series, the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church claimed to be the one and only True Church. Catholic tradition makes the grandiose claim that the Apostle Peter was their first Pope. For historical reasons we can arguably see the official beginning of the Catholic church at the Council of Nicea and the Nicene Creed from 325 C.E. which states, “We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.”
I can humbly say that the Catholic Church was the first man-made religion to present herself as the direct false representation of the Church of Christ on this earth. Their crimes against humanity are no secret, there Biblical atrocities and their own history is available for everybody to see and study if they care for the truth.
This is not, however, a series about the history of the Catholic Church, but I must point out, as an amazing fact, that the Catholic Church has remained united even through many turbulent periods. They had divisions, some denominations that have come out of the Catholic Church are almost a photocopy of the way Catholics conduct their services. I am also aware that there is a strong element of the Charismatic Catholic Church. But, for the most part, still today, they enjoy great unity.
Is the Catholic Church’s unity a sign that they are indeed the true church? Absolutely not. Martin Luther protest against the Catholic Church was as valid on October 31, 1517 as it is today. I do not recognize them as the mother church because Biblically they went astray and they are still astray today. The problem is that we, as Protestants, have also gone astray with our shameful divisions.
TO BE CONTINUED…