One of the most often used reasons that people do not attend church services is they are confused by the vast number of groups who all teach, believe and worship in different ways.  I heard a man say one time  "there are as many churches in this town as there are different bars. "  His statement was true.  He, like so many others, was absolutely confounded as to why there is such a lack of unity among people who all claim to worship the same God using His Word as our guide.  In an effort to be open and accepting the vast majority of Christians have adopted the  "I'm ok, you're ok " motto.  While this seems to create peace, this peace is only found on the surface for behind this statement a torrent of confusion is sweeping the lost away.

Challenging Questions
Our culture has taught us not to question another person's religious beliefs because this is somehow anti-American.  The fact remains, however, there is great diversity in Christendom today.  Multiple denominations and numerous  "independent " churches exist within close proximity to one another.  This situation presents two questions that must be asked and answered; 1) Is this diversity how God would want Christianity to be, 2) Is this diversity harmful or helpful to the cause of Christ?  In this lesson we will attempt to answer these questions.

What Does God Want?
Our only window into the will and character of God is through His Word.  So the question; Is diversity how God would want Christianity to be can only be answered by looking into this Word and drawing out what His will is.  Let's look at a few scriptures on this topic now.

Romans 12:16 (NKJV)
Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Over the years many people have asked why there are so many different churches all claiming to be of the same God.  For a long time I had no answer to this question but God reveals something interesting in this verse.  He says the ability to remain humble and control our own opinions will allow single-mindedness.  In today's Christian world we see a great many people, perhaps even in our own brotherhood, which lost their humility and became so wise they became church leaders instead of followers of God.  We must ensure we humbly apply God's will over our own and the natural result of this is unity.

Romans 15:5-6 (NKJV)
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have mentioned earlier how the diversity within the Christian world has created confusion and misunderstanding outside the church.  This verse reproves this thought by stating like-mindedness allows us to praise God with  "one mind and one mouth. "  If this were indeed the case the confusion the world sees now would vanish away.

1 Corinthians 1:10 (NKJV)
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Notice Paul's emphatic language in this verse as he pleads by the highest authority possible, the name of the Lord, with members of the church to; 1) speak the same thing, 2) have no divisions among us, 3) be perfectly joined together, 4) share the same Christian mind, 4) have the same Christian judgment.  For the sake of emphasis let's reverse these thoughts and see how outlandish it would be:

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak many different and diverse things, and that there be great divisions with the church, but that you be disjointed and separate in many different minds and in many different  judgments.   "This sounds like a recipe for confusion to me!

Eph 4:4-6 (NKJV)
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

This passage is so clear there are no notes needed.  Does it, however, describe what we see in the world today?  No!

2 Peter 1:20-21 (NKJV)
knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Some many say that the diversity is just simply a product of people interpreting the Bible differently.  Peter addresses that very issue and emphasizes the point by telling us to know this principle first.

John chapter 17 is one of the most beautiful, heartfelt and revealing passages in the entire Bible.  Here Jesus, about to be crucified and knowing He will be separated from them, is pleading with His Father on behalf of His followers.   You might say this prayer was His dying request.  Let's look at just a few verses from this passage (but please read it in its entirety as well):

John 17:11 (NKJV)
Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.

In this verse Jesus is praying for His apostles that the Father gave Him.  He did not pray that they would have great wealth, a long life or a happy existence.  Instead, above all else, He prayed for their unity.

John 17:20-23 (NKJV)
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
Jesus expands His thoughts in prayer to include all who will believe in Him in the future.  Notice how He pleads over and over for oneness and unity.  Count the number of times He says  "one. "

Our two questions have been thoroughly answered by God's Word and even our own experiences provide clarity for those answers:

Is diversity how God would want Christianity to be?  The answer is a resounding  "no. "  The scriptures plead, beg and demand that the Christian faith be one of unity and that true unity can only be achieved by a humble application of God's will in our lives.  If the diversity we see today is not the will of God, then whose device is it?  Satan is reaping the reward of millions of souls struggling to find their way while confusion reigns.

Is diversity harmful or helpful to the cause of Christ?  The lost are screaming to us in a voice of unity that we should envy!   "Harmful! "  We must clearly teach we are laboring toward a time when all Christendom is united and speaks the same thing.  God's pure and simple Word.  It must not be our desire to defeat, but to unite and please and praise the Lord with one unified voice.  Otherwise we leave the world to the confusion authored by Satan.

How do we start?  First, we must know what we believe is indeed God's Word and Will.  We must know our Bibles for ourselves and be able to clearly explain what we believe not only to others, but to ourselves!  We must be able to discuss the truth of the scriptures with others and lovingly correct when corrections are needed and humbly change when we find ourselves amiss.