Organization of and divisions within the church

Christ declared that His followers should all be "one body".  He did not say a lot about how that body should be organized, or to what extent it should be organized.  It is a fact that the church is very divided today.  Even among those who share mostly similar beliefs, there is a reluctance to work and fellowship together as true brothers.

As believers who seek to follow Jesus' desires for our lives and relationships, I think it is necessary that we acknowledge that division comes through sin, and to take personal responsibility for the problem.  None of us can overcome hundreds of years of outrageous behavior, but we can acknowledge that each of us have been influenced by wrongs around us and have become to some extent part of the problem.

We can pray and ask God's guidance in seeking fellowship and truth among as many of His followers as possible.  We can choose to go the extra mile, presenting ourselves as living sacrifices, reaching out in love even when we are rejected, seeking to overcome misunderstandings through calm and balanced explanations even in the face of shrill denial.  We can deliberately choose to acknowledge that the others we are dealing with have some legitimate concerns about us, and that they are probably right about some things we are blinded to.

We can acknowledge that pride has kept us apart and is often the main reason we are so sure that we are right and there is no merit in the other's position.  My experience has been that I need the views of others to show me the dangers of pushing my own viewpoints too far or of failing to show the other side or cautioning people about the limits they need to understand.

I am reluctant to give specific examples, because as soon as I mention issues like denominationalism, KJV-only, or whether there are certain Bible books that have priority, I know I will be seen as being one-sided and on the wrong side.  We need the input of those who passionately defend both certain features that their denomination has developed and the idea that there is only one church and that it is dangerous to even choose a name that makes us appear to be more than one.  We need the input of those who defend the KJV and of those who find possible benefits from giving fair consideration to many of the variants in Greek texts that differ from KJV.  We need the input of all who take Bible texts seriously in order to understand better how God arranged and chose the books so that each can contribute to our understanding of the value of the shed blood of Jesus.

Ideas for future development:

Can we keep the church structure simple, but effective in combining formally where it aids the Gospel?  Can we keep organizations on an as-needed basis, but the Gospel and the possibility of God moving in a new direction as priorities?  Can we avoid running into error through lack of accountability, without imposing a shell that keeps God out?

How can we break through the walls that separate one congregation from another without opening up the flock to the influence of wolves?  Here I would suggest proceeding with caution.  We ought to greatly increase inter-congregational fellowship, but I believe God will honor our decision to do so only where we have tested the waters and found the Gospel message alive and well.  I believe God will convict us of our sin if we fail to test the water by encouraging inter-congregational discussions among mature Christians.