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The service was rich in Trinitarian worship, in raised God-centred prayers, in excellent hymns and a great, if too short, sermon. As I shared and sat in the worship, this idea came to me,' varied the church of Jesus Christ is.' Here I was in a fairly large Anglican college chapel, a a certain Presbyterian plus head to toe Westminster Calvinist. The seeming incongruity set me believing and below is the substance of my thinking.



Which communion, as God offers opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every area, call upon the Lord Jesus' name. (WCF 26)
It's only too possible to exclude practically, and also chiefly, from the communion of the saints, folks and denominations who don't believe the things they consider. There are, of course, foundational and non- negotiable gospel doctrines. A core is of truths that participate in the nature of the Christian faith. People exclude themselves if they deny any of these center truths. But should they believe trust and these truths the Saviour imbedded in these truths, they are 'household' and as fam and embraced should be recognized. They could have defective perspectives of divine sovereignty, not comprehend the priority of grace over religion, have uncertain views of Genesis 1, have fantastical perspectives of the end times and encourage the continuance of charismatic gifts; but whenever they maintain to Christ the Head, they are fam. In case they have been elected by the dad, the Son has shed his blood for them plus the Holy Spirit indwells them, they are household.

Family life might be debatable and, sadly, might be dysfunctional. But family is family no matter how debatable and dysfunctional.

This is an enormous and searching test of our gospel devotion that we recognize that God has his folks everywhere, often in what may appear to us the most unusual of places. Embracing, accepting and recognising sisters and brothers in Christ, yet different they may be from us, was something Deliverer strongly impressed on his disciples. Mark 9:38-41 is among the most ambitious episodes recorded in the Gospels. The adherents saw a man casting out demons in Jesus' title, however they told him to quit, 'because he was maybe not following us'. Jesus promptly rebuked his slim- disciples, 'Do not stop him'. The adherents cannot see beyond themselves. This man could hardly be one of Christ's if he wasn't one of them! How sad.

The second we identify the Christian faith with our special church or denomination or confession of faith, that instant we become not a true church of Jesus and a sect. Not one of this means that we are never lead our brothers and sisters into a richer, more biblical understanding of the religion and correct them and to try. No. It does mean our default is not, 'They desire putting right', but, 'These are my fam, we're fighting under exactly the same banner, we are heading for the same celestial state, we are washed in exactly the same blood.'

The communion of the saints is a valuable and profoundly biblical and God-honouring truth. In a famed letter John Calvin wrote:

This other thing also is to be rated one of the chief evils of our time, viz., that the churches are therefore split, that human fellowship is barely currently in any repute in our midst, much less that Christian sex which all make a profession of, but few genuinely practice . . . Consequently it's that the body the members of the Church lies bleeding. Does this concern me, that, could I be of any service, I wouldn't grudge to cross seas that are ten, if demand were, because of it. (John Calvin, Tracts and Letters, ed. Jules Bonnet [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2009],2 5.347-348.)
Occasionally family disagreements become public and there may be an excellent reason why. Most remain within the household; not just because it's bad to to clean your dirty linen in public. More importantly, God's blood-bought children should desire to please the Saviour to whom Father are united by the Holy Spirit and their heavenly them. Like all fathers, our heavenly Father desires to view his children live in harmony. 'By this', said our Lord Jesus, 'will all guys realize that you are my disciples, which you love one another.'

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