The Importance of Identity

I believe that nondenominational Christianity is a dead end. What tends to happen is that any marks of identity are shed until there is nothing left. Churches that start out as nondenominational eventually occupy a denominational space. I have no problems with denominations. It is the reality in which the Church must live until the Kingdom comes in its fullness. Divisions are certainly brought about by the shortcomings of humans, but God is the only one who can heal those divisions.

We can, however, still learn to speak to one another across our divisions. This can only be accomplished, though, through a firm sense of identity. In Churches of Christ, it is important for us to know who we are as a people so that we can honestly and faithfully when we engage disciples from other denominations. There is no ecumenical purpose in shedding the marks of our identity before we engage others. If we want to come to the table of the discussion of what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we must willing and able to state clearly what we believe. We must take our identity seriously because, in doing so, we take the identities of other denominations seriously. We can teach and learn from each other. To say that what we believe does not matter also implies that what another believes also does not matter.

Our marks of identity also serve to form our character. When we look at where certain practices of our tradition come from, we should look also at their historical and social location. Simply because our social location no longer matches that in which the practice was formed does not mean that we should abandon the practice. It may mean that we should rethink our current social location. I will engage this thought more fully later on.

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One Response to The Importance of Identity

  1. Chris says:

    This is an excellent beginning. Looking forward to more of these reflections.

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