Body Parts

I’ll never forget the day that the children and I were passing by the local Baptist church, and one of my children asked me, “Now, what weird things do they believe?”

How could this be my child?  I wondered.  I had, on purpose, signed my kids up for things from different denominations and had repeatedly explained to them how each group has a special part to play in the  Body of Christ.  I encouraged them always to focus on our likenesses, rather than on our differences.  In addition to the many projects they had in our own wonderful non-denominational church, I enrolled them in a Reformed home school group, had them serve meals at the Salvation Army, went to plays and special events at the same local Baptist Church and still they had taken on an, “us four and no more” attitude.

I suppose their response was somewhat normal for someone who has been born and grown up in the same non-denominational church their whole life.  But I had taught them differently, and I expected more of them and from them.

After I picked my jaw up off the floorboard of the car, I answered in the most controlled voice that I could muster that if it weren’t for the Baptists that I wasn’t sure any of us would be Christians at the moment, because one of the Baptist church’s main emphases is evangelism and discipleship.  I also reminded them how thankful we can be that the Baptists have held to the high standard of doctrine in their lives.

It was silent in the car for awhile.  I suppose I was a little fiery in my delivery, but the said child had touched a nerve.

When I consider each denomination I see groups of people who have been given different assignments from God.  Episcopalians have been given a literary assignment bringing forth great authors and theologians like C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle.  Catholics have been given an assignment to remind us of the mystery that is Christ.  Baptists have been given an assignment to go out and to preach the Gospel to everyone.  The Salvation Army has been given the assignment to love the unloved, and to reach out a hand to man and heart to God.  Methodists have been assigned to teach us a methodology by which we can better serve God.  Pentacostals and  Charismatics have been given the assignment to experience God physically and emotionally through signs and wonders.

Do I believe that every believer should experience a portion of each of these strengths?  Absolutely!  But no one could focus on all of them at once.  And thus we have our differences.

The icon becomes idol when any one part of the body wants the rest of the Body to be just like it…How odd it would be if the Body were all knees or teeth! Madeleine L’Engle

Why not celebrate our differences?  After all we would be ineffective without one another, and we’d look pretty ridiculous if all we were is a bunch of teeth.

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  I Corinthians 12:12

43 thoughts on “Body Parts

  1. I love this…and how you named what each denomination has offered to us. It’s so easy not to see things because they are different than what we already know.

    • I know what you mean Nikki. We can’t reject something just because it is different. It’s like when a parent has several children. One child might express his love to his mom by sitting on her lap and kissing her. Another child might write a note. It’s all just different expressions of our love for Him.

  2. What a beautiful post! I had to laugh because I am a Baptist pastor’s wife! So funny from the mouths of babes!

    It is weird how we are on the same wavelength. I have been thinking about how quick we are to hold up our “denomination” as our identity when really, our identity should be firmly and resolutely in Christ and Christ Alone!

    I had started writing a post on this several months ago and now, thanks to you, I might just finish it! πŸ™‚ I also learned something new about one of my favorite authors! I didn’t know C.S. Lewis was Episcopalian!

    • Actually C.S. Lewis was part of the Church of England which is part of the Anglican church. In America, we call this denomination Episcopalian…I can’t wait to read your post. Make sure you let me know when it’s done.

  3. Lovely post and from what I’ve experienced, so true! Good for you, explaining to the kids that ALL the parts of the body must appreciate one another and work together for the glory of God!

  4. My dad is a Methodist minister. He always encouraged my brother and I to visit different churches with our friends and always taught us how important it was to respect and appreciate the values and beliefs of different denominations and religions. I think it’s great that you are doing the same thing with your kids. They’ll appreciate it when they get older. It certainly helped me to learn how to look at things with more of an open mind.
    Great post! Thanks so much!

  5. Amen! I agree that we need unity in the body of Christ. In one of my first discipleship classes, we learned that “non-essential” differences must not separate us from other believers. Your paragraph on the special gifts of each denomination really blessed me. Beautiful post.

  6. Simply an outstanding way to look at Christian denominations. However, I’m surprised that readers haven’t added others .. .so here’s mine. Lutherans are assigned to teach us that the grace of God is for everyone.

  7. C S Lewis: “Christians are Christ’s body, the organism through which He works. Every addition to that body enables Him to do more. If you want to help those outside you must add your own little cell to the body of Christ who alone can help them. Cutting off a man’s fingers would be an odd way of getting him to do more work.” …….”every addition”, whether Lutheran, or Pentecostal. My own tapestry has included several denominations, and I have benefited from them all and thank God for their influence in my growth as a follower of Christ. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

  8. Amen… Reminds me of when we first met I was in 2nd grade and you were in Kindergarten and I who was raised Catholic showed me that there are other religions who Love and Honor God as much as mine and for that I will always be greatful.

  9. It’s a lovely viewpoint, but I think it can also be a bit misleading, especially considering the Catholic church vs. Protestant denominations.

    Yes, we’re all different, and serve God differently, but I’ve honestly never seen this as a *denominational* thing as much as an *individual person* thing. I don’t really believe God intended for His Bride to be so terribly divided like it is. It’s why I’m not fond of denominations myself, but can let some things go, as long as they are true to the crux of the matter.

    If, after studying a denom’s beliefs, I see something *severely* off-kilter with what the Bible says (such as speaking in tongues loudly when there is no one to interpret the language), I have a much harder time with being okay with that particular denomination.

    Maybe I’ve studied this stuff far, far too much though. lol

    • Lady Tam,

      I’m sure that God intended for us to be one big happy family without the divisions of denominations. I love your idea about it being more an individual thing than a denomination thing. But…here we are….in different denominations. It is my hope, that as we learn to appreciate one another, it becomes more of an individual thing than a denomination thing. Regarding things that appear to be unbiblical, I personally have decided to keep my reservations to some basics. In other words, when we have people claiming there is no hell, or that there are more ways to Heaven than Jesus THEN I tremble in my seat. The rest of the stuff I try not to be so opinionated about, because I myself have looked at Scriptures and changed in my understanding of what they mean. I mean, I don’t currently walk around with my head covered, but I totally understand why some women believe that they should (even apart from having a bad hair day! ;))
      Thanks for your thoughtful comments! I hope to see you around.

  10. This one popped into my mind today … and this will stretch some people …. Jews are the ones who teach us the importance of tradition and roots.

  11. Wish everyone felt this way instead of the pettiness that so many Christians exhibit when they talk about denominations other than their own. We’re instructed to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. It’s a personal thing. I love Phillip’s Your God Is Too Small because he addresses this tendency to put God in a box, one size fits all.

  12. Thank you, I really enjoyed reading this.
    Also thank you for visiting my blog.
    I don’t read too many blogs, I am an adult with Aspergers syndrome and dyslexia.
    I find your blog very interesting amd inspiring so I have subscribed.
    Love and hugs.
    Lisa. xx πŸ™‚

  13. As someone who grew up Roman Catholic and later married a Baptist, I appreciate both traditions. I like your interpretation of all the denominations working together, assgned to different aspects in the Body of Christ. I always thought of the Body of Christ and different individuals working together, but never really thought about denominations working like that.

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