Growing up, our family spent many vacations camping in Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, Maryland, and Virginia. After our site was secured, there was time to explore our surroundings. One thing to notice was a variety of car tags, indicating folks from other states had chosen to share common interests. God's Church, the Body of Christ is, in some respects, a campground of its own. People of different backgrounds joined together with a common interest: the cause of Christ being pursued over our own aspirations and dreams. In doing so we're exchanging our lives for the Life provided through Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.
Unlike those inclusive campgrounds of yesteryear I see far too many individual camps in the Church; groups having their own camp just to have things their way. Denominational camps, non-denominational camps, Word-of-Faith camps-the list goes on and on. All because of focusing on what divides us, rather than what unites us.
There are a lot of differences among camps within the Church, the Body of Christ. Some of these differences are extreme, to the point where my only fellowship with people is salvation, based on the shed Blood of Jesus. I know that there's so much more to the Christian walk than just salvation but, after all, isn't that the most important part? Even though I pray in tongues, walk in health, and am prospering financially, I still face a challenge. If I can't fellowship with those who are saved, but think that speaking in tongues is of the devil and that God wants them poor, what does that say about my love walk, about walking in love toward fellow believers? Not much at all. Not much at all.
The only camp that matters is God's camp. His camp has room for every believer-every person who has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and is following Him-regardless of anything else. This doesn't mean giving up the rest of our blessings in Christ. It means focusing on the fact that our common bond is the Blood of Jesus Christ, shed for our sins to purchase our salvation.
How about you? What core beliefs have you set aside to fellowship with those who don't agree with you? What happened as the result of finding common "camp" ground?