PART 9 - Henry Hon’s 10-Part Series on the Oneness of the Body of Christ -Differences - aka, FACTIONS - are, according to 1 Corinthians 11, necessary when God's people gather. Henry Hon draws this distinction when expressing and experiencing Ekklesia. The more differences and/or factions which are manifested, the more the multi-faceted wisdom of God is manifested. When such diversity is present—then, those who are genuinely approved of God should manifest—this is truly an expression of Ekklesia. Those, so approved as genuine brethren, are those who maintain the unity in the Body of Christ—they are the real peacemakers—they will be blessed and the Body of Christ will manifest that true oneness we have in Christ.
In the only chapters (1 Cor. 11:17 to the end of 1 Cor. 14) in the epistles of the New Testament, describing the manifestation (what does it look like?) of the Lord’s ekklesia, the Apostle Paul said it would be necessary to have factions when assembling of the saints. This is fully consistent with Greek understanding of ekklesia (democracy) which required representation from every sector of a Greek city in order to legislate. It is necessary to hear from diverse perspectives and experiences concerning the Bible and Jesus Christ. In a church setting, people from a contrary perspective will be marked as troublemakers or as divisive people if they voice their opposing views. A church, led by a ministry, simply cannot tolerate vocal opposition to a key doctrine or practice of that ministry. This is reasonable and understandable.
However, in the Lord’s ekklesia we can anticipate and even welcome believers from diverse perspectives. This is the reason Paul in I Corinthians 12 says that members in the Body of Christ, are all different, none are the same. We all can’t be an eye, and an eye cannot say to the feet: I have not need of you. No matter how different someone is, as long as that person declares: “Jesus is Lord,” then this person is a member of the One Body of Christ. What a freedom it is when the expectation is variety and diversity—but united in Christ. In the Lord’s ekklesia, one can be who he/she is in Christ, and be accepted, honored, and loved. There is no need for conformity or uniformity. True love and equality of people from various races, with differing political leanings, and views on social hot-button issues, are manifested in the Lord’s ekklesia, His Body.
Let’s build up the Lord’s ekklesia. Start hosting at your home a gathering of believers from differing Christian persuasions to break bread: Have a meal together with remembrance and declaration of the Lord’s death and resurrection. Encourage everyone to speak out and share their insights, perspectives, and experiences while lifting up Jesus Christ as Lord. Gather together once a year, a month, or every week. This is not to build up another group as a “house church” or another defined group. No one should dominate such a gathering or claim ownership, or control of such an ekklesia. The Spirit of God is the One moving and directing within the liberty of each and every believer participating, contributing their portion and experience of Christ.