Unity in Diversity… proof that this is a God thing and not the work of men
Isn’t it strange that I can travel to Norway then to Slovenia, Italy, Charlotte and finally to Canada and you find people who all have the same spiritual DNA? The only things that might be slightly different is how high they raise their hands or whether one person prays at a time or whether everyone prays all at once like the South Koreans do.
I understand how Roman Catholicism, Islam, or Jehovah’s Witnesses accomplish this sort of thing. They have centralized and standardized their teaching and practice so all of those who belong are compelled to climb inside some sort of intellectual or religious box where they are exposed to nothing but what the various systems approve. They transport their beliefs and practices from Rome, Mecca or Brooklyn, New York. There is no natural theology or general revelation. Everything must be contrived.
By contrast, I travel from place to place and I suspect that should I travel further afield, say China or Ghana I would come up with the same results, I would find Christians who turn out to be just like me. It could be that I am wrong-headed or we all are but I am unable to understand how, without the active work of the Holy Spirit (Christ building His church) in peoples lives, this uniformity of belief and experience could ever be accounted for. We know that conformity to the character and mind of Christ is the work of the Spirit “until we all come to the unity – we come to know with all of the saints the height, width, depth…” and on and on. The Holy Spirit is the teacher and guide and He is at work all over the world revealing Jesus, building His church, making clear the Word of God and making ordinary people, without the aid of men or institutions, into evangelists, preachers and theologians.
This is what I have found here at Smyrna. I have found the same thing I have found in Parma, Italy and Ljubljana, Slovenia. I have found people from cultures so extreme from one another that, if they were not fellow believers, it would be impossible to put them in the same room and have any thing in common at all. But Christ is able to eliminate vast differences in color, disposition, language and more and make from these people groups one person, with one mind, one heart, striving together for the furtherance of the gospel. This can only be the work of God.
I have come here to Norway first from Canada, then America and finally ten or more nations in southern Europe only to find people just like me here and everywhere else. When I arrived on the campus I was met by people who had never read the same books as I have. They would mention a teacher or preacher and asked if I had ever heard of this person or that person to which question I mostly answered, “No, never heard of them.” But they are, and they think like I do. When I began to explain a supernatural experience they have also been there and can finish my story with their own stories. I say, “God showed me this thing or that thing” and they say, “Me, as well.”
The Headmaster Reidar Gamst and his wife, Karin though almost twenty years younger understand me completely. When I first met Reidar I said to him, “I know you. I have always known you. When I looked into your face I knew who you were.” He said the same of me. When I stood up to teach people they heard my voice. They recognized my speech. They applauded my doctrine. There is one from Brazil, another from Denmark and the rest from cities, small villages, islands and fiords from all over this nation. They come big churches, small churches and different churches but they hear the doctrine the same and say in unison, “Amen.” I challenge any false religious system to describe themselves in a similar way. This can be only the work of God. Out of many, He makes one.