Semantics: a leading cause of misunderstanding among Christian believers
Pride: the root cause of misunderstandings never being cleared up among Christian believers
(the italicized definitions are my own, natch)
I say living by the indwelling Life of Jesus Christ, you say being led by the Holy Spirit. More often than not, we mean the exact same thing: speaking or acting out from a different source other than my own soul-life, particularly the life of God. Granted, every now and then, we mean different things. Then how will we know? We talk. When we don’t communicate with each other, we allow the enemy of God and His people to perpetuate the lies and deception that we’re not in unity and are against each other. Our own pride, i.e. our own desire to be right, will often times keep us from communicating with each other. Or, at the very least, it will taint our communication as we’ll only be looking for how we’re right and everyone else is wrong.
Then there’s the other side of things: when we think we’re saying the same thing, but we’re really not. We both say organic church, but we mean two completely different things: one of us means a group of saints learning to live by the indwelling life of Christ, the other means a movement to reject western church systems by meeting in a house and doing church the right way. Granted, every now and then, we’ll mean the same thing. So, how will we know? Again, we talk. This time, without communication, we foster the deception of unity. We’ll act as though we’re on the same page, but we’re not. Now the enemy perpetuates the lie of a false unity. We won’t talk about it, because our pride will lead us to believe we’re all right and we don’t need to talk.
Jesus Christ is our unity. If you and I are both in Jesus Christ, then we are on common ground; we have unity. We lose that unity when we start arguing about/focusing on every other thing outside of Jesus Christ: baptism, spiritual gifts, evangelism, how to do church, worship music, five-fold ministry, women’s role in church, even who or what the church is. If any of these are outside of or apart from Christ, they therefore aren’t in Christ, and we’ve lost our unity. Our unity is only in Christ. He alone is our unity. Once we try to separate even the church from Christ, we lose our unity.
In other words, our unity is an internal, indwelling unity. Just because we may have unity on the outside (both saying organic church), it doesn’t necessarily mean we have unity on the inside. The same goes for not appearing to have that external unity (I say this, you say that), but having the internal unity.
Jesus Christ is the very communication of God: He is the Living Word of God. He is the Alpha and Omega (first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), and He is every letter in between. Therefore, if we are in Christ, then we are in God’s communication. When Christians refuse to communicate with one another, we refuse to be in Christ. When we refuse to be in Christ, we refuse our unity. Our only unity is Christ. God sees to that.
What I’m trying to say is this: a lot of times, we think we’re saying different things, and that we’re taking them outside of Christ, when in fact we’re meaning the same thing. The dissolve happens when we just assume we know what we’re all saying (semantics) and don’t communicate it out (pride). I’ve seen saints fall out over semantics, with neither side being willing to talk. When I know they’re saying the same thing. And I’ve seen the reverse, when saints ultimately fall out over a false sense of unity, because they meant totally different things.
My encouragement: don’t get hung up on semantics. Communicate with one another. And trust me, when I’m pointing the one finger, I’ve got three pointing back. Let us understand our location and identity. And let us not be afraid to use our words.