Unity vs. Uniformity

John 17:20-23

 A man was about to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge.  Rushing to him, a Christian man tried to talk him out of his suicidal notion.  “You know God loves you,” he said.  Through tear brimmed eyes he responded, “You are a Christian?”  The first man answered, “Yes.”  “Are you Protestant or Catholic.”  The first answered, “I’m Protestant.”  “What denomination?”  “Baptist,” he answered.  “Northern, Southern, American, General, or Primitive Baptist?” he was asked.  “I’m a Northern Baptist.”  “I am too!” he exclaimed with excitement. “Are you Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”  “Northern Conservative Baptist.”  He nodded approvingly.  “Northern Conservative Fundamental Baptist or Northern Conservative Reformed Baptist?”  “Northern Conservative Fundamental Baptist, Karl Ripley.”  A smile welcomed the answer.  “Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes region or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Eastern region?” “Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes region.”  He sighed in relief. “Are you Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes region council of 1897 or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes region council of 1912?”  “1912, the first answered.”  In sudden anger the second cried, “Die, heretic,” and pushed him off the bridge.

The lesson in this story is that unity is not the same as uniformity.   Two policemen can wear the same uniform and work at the same precinct and still be at odds with each other.  Two women can have a passion to rescue animals and volunteer at the same Humane Society while having a deep hatred for each other.  Being a child of God expects something different.  The people of God are known by the fact that they not only love God but they also love each other.

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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