Good Example Of Paul Versus Peter, John And James Factions In The Struggle For Christian Unity. Critical Thinking
7 Discussion (Additional writings and letters of Christian scriptures)
Introduction to the struggle for Christian unity.
The role of biblical scriptures in the Christian struggle for unity.
Judaism in the struggle for Christian unity.
Ways of overcoming divisions in contemporary ministry.
Avoid false teachings.
Since his death and resurrection, the church has found it difficult to agree with each other. The struggle for Christian unity has resonated from many issues among them church traditions and differing biblical interpretations. Additionally, the different and unique personalities in the church do clash. The Disciples of Christ were dispersed at a very early stage therefore Christianity and the church did not begin as one unified movement. These Christians of the early days struggled to define for themselves the identity of Jesus and the meaning of his message (Johnson 498). Hebrews, 1and 2 Peter, Jude, and James are different manifestations of the Christian movement and message rather than inferior productions as often regarded (Johnson 455). For instance the book of Jude was an exhortation written for insiders (those who were “called” and “beloved”) to encourage their struggle for faith. It is articulated that these books were written for the Jews. However, they were not written against the “Hebrews”, as earlier thought. Peter later advocated for unity, the church should not be divided along the lines of those who follow the apostles (Peter, John and James) of Christ and those who followed Paul. This among others called for these leaders to unite the believers since this division threatened the spread of the Gospel. In Christ, all believers are united as one body. God inspired men to author the scriptures, asserted by the Holy Spirit; it follows that they must be acknowledged as teaching the truth God intended (Pope Paul VI 1). Interpretation of the scriptures is subject understanding the intentions of the authors and what God wanted manifested in their writings. Scripture interpretation is derived from the literary forms used to convey the meaning, the time and the culture of the people of the sacred writers. The sacred scriptures nourish and regulate the church (Heb. 4:12). All Christians should have easy access to the sacred scriptures. The translation to different languages should be based on the original sacred books and involve cooperation of all parties to avoid controversies. The church should diligently and appropriately explore and exposit the divine writings (Pope Paul VI 1). The fact that Jews considered Moses as a central figure become a regular topic of contrast for Christian claims about Jesus. Hebrews voices a series of intense appeals to the unity of the community and faithfulness to Christ instead of yielding to the pressure and returning to Judaism (Senior and Collins 1711). The author of the book of Hebrews argued his audience to pursue peace with everyone and pursue holiness. Peter argued that Jews were not saved by being Jews but by accepting Christ and becoming Christians. Therefore it was unnecessary for pagans who turned to Christ to become Jews. Christians who believed from pagan religions did not have to be circumcised. This assisted in reducing the conflict between the Jews and the Pagans who came to believe in Christ. As has been advocated in the books of Hebrews, 1Peter, Jude and James, the foundation of overcoming divisions in the church lies in the realization that they are all united as one body through Christ. To begin with, the ministry should aim to attain the ultimate spiritual growth of each of its members. For instance, Peter received personal instruction from the world's greatest teacher, Jesus. However, Peter had failed to grip the importance of taking the gospel to the Gentiles. Peter was prejudice because he lacked the spiritual understanding and discipline. Spiritual maturity promotes unity among ministry members. Secondly, church members should have faith in the dynamism of God. They should relate with each other faithfully. Trusting each other disperses any discords that may arise with time. God sends believers out of their comfort zone to places and circumstances that require us to express faith to accomplish God-sized tasks. Thirdly, the church should teach and interpret the scriptures correctly without seeking their own interests. False teachings have crippled the church, such as the gospel is only restricted to particular people and not others, “gentiles”. Throughout his ministry, Jesus taught that the heavenly kingdom belonged to everyone irrespective of their gender, race and age. Therefore, such issues should not be a source of division and conflicts in the church of Christ. Fourthly, Christians should show mercy to others. Obedience to God leads to mercy and grace pouring in and though their souls. Disputes arise so often in contemporary ministry. Learning to forgive each other is a sign of mercy. Finally, all of you have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8).
Andrews, Steve . Sermon: Grace Relations - Acts 10. Lifeway Christian Resources. 28 Sept. 2008. Web. 29. Mar. 2015.
Johnson, Luke. The Writings of the New Testament. 3rd ed. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010. Print. .
Pope Paul VI, Second Vatican Council. (1965). Dei Verbum: Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. 1965. Vatican Archive. Web. 20 March 2015.
Senior, Donald and Collins, John. Catholic Study Bible. Oxford: Oxford University, 2010. Print.
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