Unity, Liberty and Charity

From Mark 9:38-41 / Unity, Liberty and Charity – One of the sad carryovers from our life before Christ, is how tribal we like to be. It is part of our fallen nature to divide into groups, even within the Church – and to imagine we have the inside track to the best form of Christianity. J. C. Ryle notes on this passage: “Men of all branches of Christ’s Church are apt to think that no good can be done in the world, unless it is done by their own party and denomination. They are so narrow-minded, that they cannot conceive the possibility of working on any other pattern but that which they follow. They make an idol of their own peculiar ecclesiastical machinery, and can see no merit in any other.” Ryle, J. C. Expository Thoughts on Mark. William Hunt, 1859, p. 190. Make no mistake, if men err on the person and work of Christ, we have an indelible dividing line. At the same time, those who cling to the Christ of the Bible, are our brothers, irrespective of differences that may still be significant. The ancient motto wrongly attributed to St. Augustine – but rightly ascribed to the Lutheran Rupertus Meldenius (circa 1627) but first taught by Jesus here, holds true: “In essentials – UNITY, In non-essentials – LIBERTY, In all things – CHARITY.”

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