I’ve been in loads of different denominations*. Never quite felt fully at home in any of them, but that I think is a spiritual yearning for my ‘forever home’ rather than anything else. I like to think of denominations (and their particular rules or theological stance) being made by people, not God. To remind myself of this, I recall when Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in Mark 2:23-28.
“Have you never read what David did, when he and his companions were hungry? Haven’t you read how he went into the house of God when Abiathar was High Priest, and ate the presentation loaves, which nobody is allowed to eat, except the priests—and gave some of the bread to his companions? The Sabbath,” he continued, “was made for man’s sake; man was not made for the sake of the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is master even of the Sabbath.”
Lord of the Sabbath.
*Evangelical Anglican, United Reformed, middle-of-the-road Anglican, Methodist, Salvation Army, High Anglican, Baptist… I’ve visited Pentecostal and Roman Catholic churches and even a Jewish Reformed Synagogue.
I’m currently in a Church History class going through the Reformation period of Christianity. During the Reformation, Martin Luther’s partner in crime (literally) was Philipp Melanchthon. After Luther’s death, Melanchthon carried the torch as a leader of the movement spreading throughout the Medieval world. In the years following the start of the Reformation, there were several different strains of non-Catholic Christianity that popped up.
To withstand the Catholic majorities at the time, these non-Catholic groups started talking about what it would look like to unify under one banner. Believe it or not, even though all these movements were really young and were reacting to the same problems they saw in Catholicism, these groups had really big differences between them that were hard to overcome.
In these conversations, an aging Melanchthon used an old Greek philosophical phrase to suggest a way forward: Adiaphora. Greek for “indifferent things”, he used it…
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