As stated in the earlier sections of this series, interpretation (hermeneutics) applies to both the churches of Christ, and Christendom in General. Christendom is just a fancy way of saying all of those who claim Christ. Jonathan Jones II, in A Graceful Uprising: How Grace Changes Everything, says, “God designed the church to be a place where all the diverse people of the world could be united as one body (Eph. 2:11-22). Jesus came to unite people far and near together in peace. He came to remove the hostility and tear down the walls that divide us (143).” In other words, Unity does not come by uniformity. Uniformity means that unity is founded on and contingent of perfect agreement. This ideology is contrary to Scripture (Rom. 14; 1 Cor. 8-10). Christian unity is not founded on a “checklist” mentality, but a relationship with Jesus. Sure, there are necessary doctrines concerning said relationship. However, anything beyond that is a matter a growth, knowledge, opinion, and/or heart. Thank God for grace!
Every denomination believes they are “right,” or at least “more” right. The churches of Christ are in the same boat! Every denomination needs to reevaluate their hermeneutics and the emphasis they put on consistency and context. The difference between the churches of Christ and other sects in Christendom is that, generally speaking, the churches of Christ tend to be sectarian in their interpretations of Scripture. That is, we often exclude others because others don’t see things eye-to-eye with them. “We are the TRUE church.” This mentality is ludicrous. In Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis says, “If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed (128).” Obviously, everyone has an issue with pride, but the moment one does not consistently apply this truth to oneself is the moment that growth and unity will most certainly cease.
If we do not rethink how we interpret Scripture, and TRULY attempt to be consistent, we are spitting in the face of the plea of UNITY our Lord died for! There are fundamental truths we will talk about as we continue to study this subject. However, let us NEVER be guilty of forgetting these truths we speak of now. – Jesse