This is a tale of three frogs—Tulip, Daisy and Rhema—who live in their own respective wells. Tulip is a Bible-honouring and God-loving Christian. For her, every croak has to be divinely willed and ordered. She takes pleasant pride in her faithfulness to God and in her know-how of Word. God for her is far above, holding the heavens together. Daisy is a happy-go-lucky Christian. She is not too fussy about her Bible but tradition and belief for sure. Her every croak is her song to God. She loves the festivities of her little well and innocently enjoys them all. God for her is here below holding people together to joyfully live their lives. Rhema is a powerful Christian. She is filled with fire for the Lord. Her croak is a unique lingo deciphered by only those from her own well. The fire in her always gives her an edge over her rather staid friends. To her, God is right within holding all faculties of the individual in flaming unison.
One day, the three frogs happened to jump out of their wells only to bump into each other. They were amazed at the possibility of other wells. Life went fairly well till the frogs discovered themselves to be from Christian faith. The girls chose to meet up at the KJV—The King’s Juice and Views—outlet, proposed by Tulip. For Tulip, if there is ever any food that tastes like manna, it is only at KJV. Daisy suggested that they sit at the east-facing table to eat. Here begins their drama being silently witnessed by an old tortoise, Sophia, sitting on a table right across.
Tulip: I never knew there was life beyond my well. I thank God for His sovereign will that enabled me to jump out.
Daisy: Ah! so…soo…sovereign will?! Almost choked at this verbiage, she takes a moment to gather herself again. It was your choice to jump out. Why spiritualise your jump?
Rhema: Life can be simple but never powerful without being empowered. You guys probably do not know what it means to actually jump. You must visit my well.
Daisy: Wa…wa…wait! Frogs jump, you see?! That is us! Why do you girls sound so dogmatic?
Tulip: We ought to be, in the Bible that we believe. I am a Conservative and I love being one!
Daisy: And what do you conserve, if I may ask?
Tulip: The Bible, God, doctrines, faith and…
Daisy: Wa…wai…wait! You safeguard God? I thought only we helpless frogs need that!
Tulip: We are called to contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.
Rhema: Hall..lleluj..jjah! Yes, we preserve the gospel. I don’t think any of us here intend to corrupt it. Do we? We are all conservatives!
Tulip: No, you are not. You are Pneumacostals.
Daisy: Having almost choked herself again…and who am I? The Radicoastal?
Sitting at the table next to these girls, Sophia smiles to herself to see how much discussion can transpire out of a single jump from a well.
Sophia: Hello! Allow me to introduce myself. I am Sophia and I have been listening to your conversation. Can I join you girls as well?
Tulip: Were you eavesdropping?
Sophia: I apologise. You were loud enough not to be unheard!
Daisy: You’re free to join us. This is God’s sovereign will! Right, Tulip?
Sophia: So, I presume you all come from various denominations.
Daisy: De..de…denominations, I don’t know. But we surely belong to different hells and I don’t think we have been able to converge our thoughts so far.
Sophia: I presume you meant wells. Didn’t you?
Daisy: Oh! Yes, I’m sorry.
Sophia: So, do you all have a different Jesus for your different wells?
Tulip: Ridiculous! How can we have different Jesus-‘es’? Girls, this is why I say we have to contend for our faith!
Sophia: I don’t consider myself a false teacher. I merely summarised your thoughts.
Daisy: Please don’t mind Tulip’s words. She is con…counterproductive I guess…sorry, what is that word, Tulip?
Sophia: That’s ok. So, whose image and superscription do our wells hold? The one and same Jesus?
Rhema: And the Spirit seals us!
Sophia: You are right. When we all subscribe to a Triune God, why do we yet make Him a piecemeal in our wells?
Daisy: That’s a point to consider.
Tulip: You will consider anything since you know nothing of your own well. The very versions of our Bibles don’t match; our worship styles, our rhythms, our liturgies…nothing matches! How can our denominations match?
Sophia: Do the various versions of Word and worship declare a different Jesus and a perverted gospel?
Tulip: hmmm…Not really.
Daisy: We usually say that at the end of our service, Rhema. I think Sophia is not yet done!
Sophia: I do understand that we perhaps have our own differences in interpreting certain Scriptures as well. We all have our own different streaks of shades that we love to possess and profess. But there is one streak that none of us denies—the blood of Jesus—do we?
Daisy: Yes, Rev. Frogstor reads that out during the Holy Communion service in my well.
Sophia: I’m sure this scarlet thread binds some foundational values that we all pledge for—the Trinity, the gospel of Christ’s death, resurrection and coming and salvation through Christ alone, the Spirit’s indwelling work in every believer, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Isn’t this the basic rubric of Christian faith?
Daisy: We confess all of these in our creeds back home in my well.
Tulip: From heart, or by-heart?
Sophia: Maybe with heart? If this is what is our heartbeat and our non-negotiables, why then are we at loggerheads over the negotiables? We are various expressions of the same faith that declare Christ. There is a need for this rich symphony to sing out a new song, an anthem of the slain Lamb! Such a voice of harmony is a need of the hour in a land where unity and morality have lost their sanctity.
Sophia: Honestly, what we need right now is a hosanna!
Tulip: hmm…so who needs to be saved now?
Sophia: Us-you and I! The challenge, in reality, is not denominationalism but the underlying ‘self’ that chooses to manifest itself in various forms. Denominationalism is but a small expression of it. What once started as a fight for sanctity has now strayed away for reasons of power and possession. If not denominationalism, we’ll soon figure out another reason to stay by ourselves so as not to share our thrones! No wonder Christ prayed for our unity! Strangely, the subscribers of denominationalism barely recognise their own tenets. However sacred your cause is, it never hinders you from stretching your sacrificial arms for an embrace with your enemy. How much more for a fellow Christian?
Daisy: Time for benediction?
Tulip: Hold on, Daisy! Sophia is suggesting we sing Bieber as Beethoven for Benediction!
Sophia: Laughs…You’re looking at the course—to cooperate and coexist—while I’m looking at the source—the cross! Cooperation and coexistence are the fruits of toleration. My appeal is to reckon to the cross that holds us all together. My call then is for a loving union—acknowledging our differences; celebrating our commitments; complementing our expressions. Tolerance then is no longer our pursuit when love earnestly seeks and serves the differences of others.
Daisy: Your sermon is longer than my Sunday service! Embrace and exit, is that what you mean?
Sophia: Smiles…as Volf says, we don’t merely embrace others but willingly accept one’s otherness that shapes our identity far from threatening it.
Daisy: With her eyes rolling all over at this theology…are you by any chance related to this nerdy Tulip?
Sophia: With a tone of nostalgia and tears in her eyes, I am actually related to you, Daisy. I am your godmother who christened you but could never see you again. Thanks to the same jump that brought me to my Saviour and now to you.
Daisy: Almost falls off her chair at Tulip’s expression….Amen!