The Unity of the bride of Christ
If we take a look at Christianity today I believe that we would conclude that we are not a united Christian nation as Jesus prayed (see The-Unification-of-the-Bride). Certainly, the church has disintegrated hundreds of religious factions that we call denominations. While these denominations have common beliefs in the truth of the Bible and are united in their belief that Jesus is the Christ; they often differ in their interpretation and meaning of the scriptures and therefore the moral code that reflects their beliefs. As a result there are many differing doctrines on appropriate Christian conduct.
So for example, some churches believe that the tools of modern civilization are evil and should not be used. The result is that they do everything with the technology of the early 1900’s. Other denominations believe that it is sinful to wear makeup while others believe that dancing is the devils work. Some believe that it is a sin to eat meat on Fridays, while another believes that the works of the Holy Spirit are not for today. The list of these types of issues is extremely long and so I will not try to introduce them all here. For our purposes it is sufficient to understand that it is in deed a very long list.
The interesting dilemma here is that for every item of disagreement there is a denomination that is proclaiming a false doctrine. Continuing on with this line of thinking, since there are so many issues and so many denominations it is highly unlikely that any of them have it perfectly correct. Yet every denomination that I know claims to offer the perfect pathway to God. They claim that they are the one true church often calling the others evil.
I seriously doubt that we as men we are capable of understanding the nature and heart of God. Certainly our interpretations often fall short of the mark because “His ways are higher than our ways.”
The Holy Spirit is to be the unifier of the body of Christ.
However, if He were active in all the denominations then there would not be divisions. But the things of the spirit are difficult to understand and once acquired they are also difficult to accept. So it would seem that we as a nation of God are right back to where we were prior to the days of Jesus, with the followers of God hogtied in the nonsensical doctrines of men.
Since there are millions of Christians who have been misled by the faulty doctrines of men, how will the world know that Jesus was sent by the Father, or that Jesus and the Father are one as Jesus prayed? The world does not see a united Christianity but rather sees hundreds of competing factions.
There have been a number of attempts to unify the denominations but all have failed after considerable work. In effect, the bride of Christ has been blown into hundreds of pieces. There are hands, legs, and other body parts lying all across the earth and the body is severely damaged. This often means that we cannot work together as an integrated unit. Rather, we are fighting over the doctrines of men and competing among each other for the patronage of the saints. This condition would seem to be exactly what Paul warned the Corinthians of several thousand years ago:
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (1 Corinthians 12:4-27)
Based on this passage from Paul, we find that we are not a single component but rather members of a single body. We each have a unique function to perform and this perhaps explains some of our differing views of right and wrong. But the big picture is that to be effective we are to be coordinated in our actions. To the degree that we can unify, or work together toward the mission of Jesus, will be the degree of our improved impact on the world around us.