I recently told you that when Mitch and I travel, we attend church wherever we are. In Europe, many times that has been in cathedrals which means it’s usually a Catholic service. We do this so we can be present with other believers. I also explained that we do not take communion because Catholics believe in transubstantiation. They believe that during communion, the bread and the wine become the literal blood and body of Christ.
We’re Baptists. And we believe that the bread and the wine are only symbolic of the body of Christ and His blood shed for our salvation. This is only one of many, many things that divide Christians across the world. These divisions are why there are Catholics and Baptists and Lutherans and Episcopalians and so many other Christian faiths.
Many of the causes of these divisions are what Romans 14 calls disputable matters. They are not necessarily central to our faith. Besides the issue of communion, these matters can include baptism, a preferred version of the Bible, and even whether women can cut their hair. There are so many of these disputable matters that I cannot begin to recount them all.
And then there are undisputable matters, which can be found at the core of the Gospel. These matters cannot be contradicted. There is only one true and living God, eternally existing as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Son of God who revealed God in the flesh. He was born of a virgin and lived a perfect, sinless life. This Son was crucified and died for our sins. He rose again by His own power 3 days later and ascended into heaven. And only through faith in Him can we be saved from the punishment for sin we all deserve. This list is not exhaustive but itemizes some of the most important non-negotiables.
So, when I find myself in a foreign land, in a foreign church, with people who are not Baptists, I can focus on what we have in common and rejoice that people everywhere still call on the name of our Lord to save us from our sins.