“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 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 17:20-21 (NKJV)
This coming week is the 2016 Week of Prayer For Christian Unity, with a theme of ‘Salt of the Earth.’ Christians should be salt, as in a seasoning that enhances flavour, rather than rubbing salt into a wound! Sometimes it looks as though Christian Denominations are always fighting—we hear of ‘worship wars’ and disagreements about the ordination of women, etc.
Why are there so many denominations anyway? This used to trouble me until I learned about psychologial type and personality theories, one of which uses the MBTI (Myers/Briggs Type Indicator) to help people discover their preferences and understand their differences. I have been active in the British Association for Psychological Type (www.bapt.org.uk) for fifteen years during which I have also served on their Board of Trustees and as assistant editor of their quarterly magazine, TypeFace. To me, this theory helps to understand the need for different kinds of ‘Church’ with different customs and styles of worship, to help different personalities interface with God meaningfully.
At their core, Christian Denominations are united in their foundational beliefs in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son of God who gave his life to take away our sins, and the Holy Spirit guiding us to all truth. And so there can be unity in diversity. It would be very boring if we were all the same. We have different strengths and gifts, and so different churches can be of benefit as they concentrate on the things they do well. Some focus on youth programmes, while others focus on overseas missionary efforts; some have lively modern music, while others prefer traditional hymns; some focus on feeding the homeless, while others have an active internet outreach.
Recorded in John 13:35, Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Let’s not squabble among ourselves, but “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3), pray for Christian unity where we can work together to make sure that all needs and opportunities are covered—together!
We pray that Jesus Christ in us will be seen by all wherever we go. May our Christianity be the light that shines in the darkness and be what people see, rather than our disagreements, as we pray for Christian unity today and forever.
Study by Nancy Silcox
*To learn more about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, visit the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland website: https://ctbi.org.uk/week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-2016/
About the Author:
Nancy Silcox attends the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK. She assists her husband, David, who is an Elder there as well as visiting other congregations as a guest speaker.
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Herts. WD24 7HF
Local Congregational Contact: