ChristianDefinedThere are a lot of issues that are talked about these days in Churches of Christ. Most of these issues are not actually new issues. Many of them have been talked about for generations. I am talking about everything from women’s roles to how we worship to how we read and interpret the Bible. These issues are getting more and more volume lately and it is concerning that some of these issues could very well define the future of Churches of Christ for years to come.

The phrase “defining issues” is an unfortunate one because that is not how things should be. We were never called by the Gospel to be defined by various issues. We were called to be defined by Christ and our faith in Christ. We were called to be defined by the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. We were called to be a community of faith that has a common identity in Christ.

I believe these issues must be talked about. I do not believe that these issues must define us. So let’s start a conversation in 2016 on how we are to be defined as Christians and as a movement. However, let us never lose track of what truly defines us. Let us never be defined by something that does not define people in scripture. Let us always put our trust in God and in His grace because we will never get all of the issues right and He loves us anyway.

Let me mention a few key identifying factors in our Christian faith that we must come back to again and again. We should be defined by our faith in Jesus Christ and the community/unity that we receive from being integrated into his body, under his headship and joined together through a common sharing of the Holy Spirit. We are defined by our common mission and our common calling to seek and save the lost. We are defined as resurrected people…those who were dead spiritually and are alive again as new creations in Christ.

These things and a few others truly do define us. Everything else is secondary.

2016 is the year we tackle two things here at Wineskins. We are going to tackle what really should define us as Christians and as a movement and we are going to tackle the issues that we are tempted to make our defining issues and have open and honest discussions (from scripture) on these issues together.

As we kick off January let us start with what should most define us: “Our common faith in Jesus Christ”.

Blessings to you this year.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Rom 15:13