It’s well past 4 A.M. and though exhausted, I’ve been awakened by pain. Not the pain of recent surgeries, which is certainly present, but instead, a very deep and painful sadness which is gnawing inside me right now. And my pain tonight is largely the fault of a Japanese theologian named Kokichi Kurosaki.
Born in 1886, Kurosaki graduated from Tokyo Imperial University. By then, he’d already met Jesus Christ and rejecting the traditional occupation of following in his father’s footsteps, he became what was known then as an “independent evangelist”. Even though he did this against his father’s will, he believed that in fact, he had followed very closely in his father’s footsteps. His father — a Chinese classical scholar — had spent his entire life teaching people the ancient, Chinese classics, whereas Kurosaki spent his life teaching people the Scriptures.
But tonight, I can’t sleep due to a deep and intense sense of grief which rises out of reading Kurosaki’s writings. I first found his book, One Body In Christ (Kobe, Japan: Eternal Life Press, 1954) in the theological library of Simpson College (Redding CA.) In fact, some years ago when writing, Many Are Sick and Some Have Died (or, “The Little Book on Church Harmony”), I quoted a paragraph from it. In it, Kurosaki makes a distinction between those who deceptively call themselves “Christians” and those who truly are Christians. He challenges us to understand that ungodly separation — “marking” and “avoiding” others amongst true Christians — is unacceptable:
[Certainly, at times some] “believers”, if they prove incorrigible, will have to be considered as unbelievers (Mt 18. 15-17;). However, such separation is not among Christians, but is rather the expulsion of those who cannot be accepted as Christians in spite of what they profess…. There is a fundamental difference between immorality or Christ-denying doctrine and the variations in doctrine or practice found among individual Christians who basically have Christ as the center of their faith. While the former will corrupt and destroy the Body of Christ, the latter will make up the completeness of it.
Did you notice that one, crucial line about “individual Christians who basically have Christ as the center of their faith”? BANG! Hit the nail on the head — that’s both the heart of unity in the Body of Christ, and its means as well. Simply put: When an individual becomes a Christian, God supernaturally baptizes him or her into Jesus Christ (Rom 6) and they are made one with Him. And if you are in Christ, and I am in Christ, we are one in Christ. As Paul says in 1Cor 10, “We who are many have been made one loaf…”
This man’s life-message corresponds beautifully to mine: Jesus has already made us one in Him. Instead of our being called to create unity amongst Believers, all God is truly requiring is for us to manifest that already existing Unity.
But what awakened me tonight in these “wee hours” was a deep and gnawing sense of sadness and pain — grief brought on as it sinks into to my understanding that Kurosaki ministered nearly a century ago and later wrote his book the same year I was born (1953). And in all these years, his message is still unheard or disdained by the great majority of mainstream, professing Christians.
Is there any hope that this message — this “good news” of our oneness in Christ — that it will ever be heard? Is there any hope that true Believers will ever successfully manifest the Unity of the Body of Christ? Hence, that deep sadness disturbing my sleep tonight.
A couple of years ago I asked God these very questions, even pointing to Ephesians 4.11–16 and asking, “What has to happen before Your Body is built in this earth and Your Church is manifested in unity? What must come to pass before your People display to the world Jesus Christ in His full and mature stature? When will this happen?”
And He said, “It will happen as soon as you do it.”
We don’t have to wait for anything; we don’t have to ‘”tarry”; we don’t have to develop a better theology or “fix” our current “church problems”; we don’t have to “bring Heaven down” in a Great Revival… All we have to do, is do it. In Christ, it already exists and we have to do nothing but manifest it.
I, for one, am doing it. My partner in life, Shell, is doing it. There are a few others I know who are considering coming along with us on this Journey — a Journey from a place called “I’m Not Staying Here Any Longer Because It’s Not Good Enough!” into a Place called, “It is Finished!”
Is it time for you as well? I’m praying for you… I’m praying that some of you who read this will (as I have been in this early morning) be awakened by sorrow for the Church — a Church unable to rise in glory because it still lies captive under a sectarian spirit.
Come — be disturbed with me…