by J. Gerald Harris

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The Church: Belonging to the Body (6 of 6)
J. Gerald Harris
Romans 13:1-7

Several months ago I was going over to the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church in America - over in northeast Atlanta on Century Plaza. I was going to see a friend of mine, Archie Parrish. He's a church statesman, a prolific writer, a wonderful communicator, a great man of God. Not ever having been to the Presbyterian Church in America headquarters before, I got lost. And I saw this very well-dressed man walking across a parking lot. And so I pulled into the parking lot and asked him, ''Do you know where the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church in America is located?''

And he threw up his hands and said, ''Don't ask me. I'm a Methodist.''

And that is the way some people define their relationship to the church of Jesus Christ. It's all about denomination. There are those who say, ''I'm a Methodist; I'm a Baptist; I'm a Presbyterian; I'm a Lutheran; I'm an Episcopalian,'' or whatever.

One Friday afternoon late I was maybe the only one who was left in this building. I was at the receptionist's desk and a delivery came. And this man came in with this package and a clipboard. And he asked me if I had the authority to sign, to acknowledge the receipt, of this particular package.

''I noticed on your sign out there that it just says Eastside.'' And he said, ''What kind of a church is it?''

And I said, ''Well, it's just a Christ-loving, Bible- believing church.''

And he said, ''No, I didn't mean that. I meant what kind of denomination is it?''

And I said, ''Well, if you're looking for a label, it's a Baptist church.''

And he said, ''O well, that's good. I was thinking maybe it might be one of those non-religion churches.''

Well, to a lot of people a church is affiliated with some denomination, or it's not a church at all.

And then, of course, there are those at the other extreme who could not care less about the church or denominations, even though they insist ...

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