Is Everyone Supposed to be the Same in Church?

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uniformity

/ˌyo͞onəˈfôrmədē/

noun

noun: uniformity; plural noun: uniformities

1.the quality or state of being uniform.

“an attempt to impose administrative and cultural uniformity”; synonyms: constancy, consistency, conformity, steadiness, invariability, invariableness, stability, regularity, evenness, lack of variation, lack of change,

uniFormity IS The OpPoSite of What YOu see HeRe.

See how I did that?

(In case you didn’t get it. I made the sentence the opposite of it’s meaning.)

I believe this type of variety was the intention of the Lord when creating His church. We are one body with a singular purpose of drawing people to Him, but we must forebear and endure variations in thought and still love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to be harmonious and in agreement regardless of our differences and be an example of love and thus point the world to the cross.

But in the Christian churches (and other religions as well) for some reason, we feel it’s better to have exact uniformity.

When I look at New Testament scripture, this is not what I see.

When Christians try to make everyone who is Christian believe every aspect of life must be alike, then invariably some feeble human being substitutes as the Holy Spirit for everyone. This not OK.

Even the description of the body of Christ seems to push away the idea of sameness. Being uniform in everything just doesn’t bear good fruit. I saw first hand in my religious circles the problems this creates for creativity, personal development, church growth, child development, and use of talents. Sure, people can make a case for seeing “eye to eye,” but the question remains, how much are we supposed to see alike, and to what extent?

I Corinthians 12 and Romans 14 & 15 and other scriptures in Acts demonstrate how unity was practiced in the bible in principle and in action. Very little points to complete sameness in all aspects of the Christian life.

Often fundamentalist religion looks at individual thought as something ugly and dangerous. I believe God looks at differing ideas as beautiful. After all, he gave us a brain to think. As I said in my last post, he is a God that honors Individuality.

A millennial said to me recently that often, in mainstream churches, they are not allowed the ask questions or have individual thoughts that bring them to the faith. They are just told to believe what older people think and not question it.

If it’s the truth, why aren’t they allowed to ask questions? The truth will stand on its own.

I Corinthians 12: 4-6 says: There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

It’s always been of interest to me that after talking about how the body should work in I Corinthians 12, Paul says in the next chapter that love is more significant than all such gifts. Love is the umbrella over the entire body that binds us together.

When someone or someone’s personal ideology becomes the centerpiece of a religion, then the love of Christ tends to fade into the background. It is difficult for people to honor one another’s walk with God and show God’s love when they’ve been convinced by someone that Christ wants them to ‘take a stand’ and be separate. Yes, we should take a stand against evil. We should take a stand against sin and wrongdoing, and often against our own selfishness. The only time it seems that the bible is adamant about separation is when people are willfully divisive. (Titus 3:10-11)

When people are divisive in spirit, they are working against the love of God and the body of Christ. That is the only time I see taking strong stands against people. Yet, in conformist-centered, man-controlled churches people tend to take positions against people when they don’t agree with them on every line of life and how to live it. It can be issues such as considering the Pastor’s advice, or minor issues involving clothing, hair, makeup or jewelry; women working outside the home, political affiliations, who you’re dating, divorce and remarriage, and differences on how to interpret scriptures. The list goes on and on.

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Reclaim your freedom in Christ! This kind of stuff just makes you tired. Rules exist that you may not even know about and all of a sudden you can’t do something because someone who has nothing to do with your situation doesn’t like it.

From being in this type of religion, it’s my estimation that the leaders are afraid that they will not be able to keep everyone in the seats believing one way if other ideas are introduced into the picture. So instead of searching the bible to see what’s right, they often isolate their members from different ideas or thoughts.

To be honest, they usually seem to do this to make their jobs easier. Yes, conformity creates laziness. They don’t have to explain anything, or study anything, just use their influence to scare people away from exploring biblical questions.

Here’s the fruit of all this. We should always look at results to see if God is in our actions:

  1. The members pray about very little in terms of what they believe. Why bother? Someone will tell them what to believe. So their convictions often come from someone else and not personal interaction with the Lord.
  2. Pastors in these systems tend to get lazy in examining what they are teaching because it’s just been passed down, so they rarely discuss or explore the details of the scriptures they’re using.
  3. Parents in these systems have a hard time explaining to their children why they can’t do a particular “forbidden” activity, like going to movies, or prom or participating in sports activities. The parents try to uphold things they don’t even believe from the heart. The sad part is that the children can tell the parents are grasping at straws trying to uphold something that often makes no sense and become turned off from church because of their first hand view of how Christianity operates.
  4. And finally, the worst result is this: as a Christian you may end up teaching things that are not scripturally sound at all, but you think they are. The words are there but the understanding is not.

Tell me your experiences below with churches trying to control your life.

2 thoughts on “Is Everyone Supposed to be the Same in Church?

  1. Great post. I love how you mentioned Cor. 12 and how chapter 13 speaks on love being the most important and yet there is so much conflict in churches today. My prayer is to remain loving to everyone as my main work for Christ and secondly find my purpose in him to attract souls aggressively. I hope those who are honest break free of spiritual abuse so we can focus on what matters. Loving.

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