Them or Us

 A God Reflection on Cross Church

This is one of seven posts I am bringing back to the light of day from a former series of exploration I titled Cross-Church. You can find more of these posts at under the heading Gary’s Reflections.

garyguarujaDr. Tom Olbricht’s graduate class on Restoration Doctrines was a mystery to me. Although early in my graduate studies, I thought I knew what I was getting into.

I was wrong.

My initiation into the world of Graduate School began nine years after walking across the college graduation stage. With a wife, three children, and a dose of life, the timing seemed right.

I thought I joined Dr. Olbricht’s course to learn why I believed what I believed.

I was wrong.

Each class session seemed to throw me a curveball. It was unsettling to find more questions than answers. There were times when he didn’t sound like a member of my church tribe.

I started to wonder if he was one of them or one of us. Although, I couldn’t identify them, I knew them was not us.

As the class unfolded Dr. Olbricht joined with the impact of other professor on my life—the men and women who challenged me to think.

From these professors I learned the danger of reading Scripture and thinking. It is a sure way to get into trouble with fellow believers.

Chicago’s Trinity Evangelical Divinity School offered a couple of courses that fit into my degree program. It was my first time to study with godly men outside of my church tradition.

As I heard from their hearts, listed to them pray, saw their commitment to Jesus and to Scripture, joined with them in worship—the question would not go away.

Were they one of them or one of us?

Over 20 years, during the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, I’ve attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington a half dozen times. The annual event—sponsored by the House and the Senate—started with President Eisenhower.   The purpose is to pray for the President.

Through those events, I encountered a group of Christ followers who refer to themselves as the fellowship.

Even though they looked a lot like Jesus, prayed, and honored Scripture, I knew they weren’t one of us.

The question remained.

During the past several years, I found myself at numerous Christian Writer’s Conferences. Although, the purpose was to enhance writing skills, my fellow attendees held the Lord high at each event through worship, Christian testimonies, prayer, and lives that mirrored the spirit of Jesus.

I knew they weren’t from my church tribe but they easily could have been mistaken for children of God.

Prior to retirement, I attended seven Global Leadership Summits.

There I encountered followers of Jesus who didn’t emerge from my church tradition, so by default they were among “them,” even though their hearts beat for Jesus and the plight of lost humanity.

My birth was into a coffee drinking family. Neither you nor I would want to know my total consumption.

Since retirement from “real life,” I joined the coffee shop culture. In coffee shops numerous “them groups” huddled with open Bibles.

Over a hot cup of Colombian Dark Roast individuals from the them groups teach lost people about Jesus.

Ok, — I have to make an observation and ask the question.

Observation: I sing numerous songs with my church tribe written by them. (My observation may seem off topic, but to me it is very much on target.) I hope they don’t mind we who are in the right making use of their songs.

Question: Is it possible—however remote—that God ignores my self-made categories of them and us while only seeing sisters and brothers of Jesus?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on Cross-Church.

2 thoughts on “Them or Us

  1. Gary, excellent article. I have wrestled with the same issues. Thanks for sharing this post. Deryl Gotcher Jr.

    Sent from Windows Mail


  2. Gary, you and this series are like a welcome cool drink of water or breath of fresh air on a hot, humid, windless day. I appreciate you more than you know.


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