Read Romans 3:29-30
29-30 And where does that leave our proud Jewish claim of having a corner on God? Also cancelled. God is the God of outsider non-Jews as well as insider Jews. How could it be otherwise since there is only one God? God sets right all who welcome his action and enter into it, both those who follow our religious system and those who have never heard of our religion. (THE MESSAGE)
One way of overcoming our fear of not fitting in, of being marginalised, is to become part of a tribe or grouping. We become insiders rather than outsiders. In doing so, we logically exclude others. Any ‘in group’ presumes an ‘out group’.
This is similar to the situation Paul describes. People found it hard to believe God embraced non-Jews as well as Jews. Those belonging to the ‘in group’ had to realise they were not so exclusive after all. God wasn’t playing favourites after all.
We may think we have overcome such sectarianism but tribal divisions still exist in churches. One tradition of a church believes it has a monopoly on orthodoxy; another proclaims it alone has discovered the secret of powerful living; and yet another reckons that only they are really in touch with the simple teachings of Jesus.
We dare not reduce the great works and great mysteries of God to a set of club-membership rules. We dare not believe that only those who think like us and worship like us and speak like us and act like us are the true believers. God is not as fussy as we are about who gets to be in his family: only trust in Jesus ultimately matters.
Let’s never pride ourselves into belonging to a particular church tradition. Let’s instead be satisfied with being followers of Jesus, and loving and learning from those fellow followers in all those other traditions.