(John David Punch, Ph.D. is a guest researcher at the Research Unit for Theology with North-West University, South Africa and a pastor at the historic Park Street Church in Boston, USA)
“There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called– one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). Despite these inspired words, we have done a very good job at dividing from one another. Schisms, scandals, denominational loyalties, church polity, etc. have created numerous avenues for separation. Still, in spite of our ability to divide, God unites by his Spirit. The words of Jesus still ring true – “I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).
One of the wonderful ways that our Lord appears to be continuing to build his church, bridging some of the gaps that divide us, is by the use of certain tools of our technologically-saturated age (i.e. Facebook, Skype, etc.); however, because such tools are only as good as the person or persons who use there, there is a call (“one call” anyone?) for New Testament scholars from all points of the globe and from all points of the divided church to utilize these tools for the benefit of Christ’s church.
Ours is a time where such boundaries might just be broken down, where East might meet West, where Catholic might meet Protestant, where Anabaptist might meet Reformed, where… (insert your own categories). But division is only broken down when there is room for dialogue and interaction. We now have more tools than ever and more access to one another’s work together. We also have “one Spirit” who can bring all of us back together in Jesus. So let us pray toward that end as we learn to utilize the tools given us and let us consider how to unite around “one Lord” in “one faith.” At least one can have this “one hope.”