This story is embellished somewhat, but it could be true, or it could just be a big whopper.
I have a friend with a lighted barn that has a lofty ceiling. Whenever a light bulb burns out, he would fire up his telescopic forklift and go to the ceiling to change the bulb.
Then, almost simultaneously, his forklift broke down and multiple bulbs blew. He couldn't see to fix his forklift and he couldn't get his light bulbs changed. So, he gathered up all his ladders and pieces thereof and bolted, wired, and welded them together to form something about 50 feet long that looks like it came straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.
Most people who've seen the ladder, me included, say they wouldn't climb it if they could help it and according to another of his friends it wouldn't meet OSHA approval.
That ladder is a lot like many attempts at Christian unity. Jesus prayed that all Christians would be one as he and God are one so that the world would be attracted to him based on love (John 17:20-23; 13:34-35).
Nonetheless, there's been considerable division in the body of Christ, his church, because men have sought to devise their own way to come to and serve God rather than maintaining the unity that comes about by simply adhering to the scriptures in matters of opinion and essential doctrine (Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Corinthians 1:11-13; 2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Many attempts at Christian unity won't meet with God's approval because they are a faulty expression of Christian love based on compromise that only leads to more confusion.
In the name of unity, area churches seem to work together on community projects (which really isn't bad in itself) but then worship separately under different names with different modes of worship and even different doctrines of salvation. The world looks at that and decides that ladder is too rickety to climb to heaven.
Jesus said that doing good without doing all other aspects of his will is useless (Matthew 7:21-27; James 2:10).
Once, men tried to ascend to God on their own terms and started building a tower to heaven to make a name for themselves. So, God confused their language to stifle their efforts (Genesis 11:1-9).
Our efforts at leading the world to Christ are stifled by our varied church names and practices. If we'd set aside the denominational trappings and names and simply put forth a truly unified front, speaking and practicing only what's presented in the New Testament rather than dreaming up whoppers of doctrine based on opinion that only lead to division, our claims of Christian unity wouldn't look like a rickety ladder.
Rather, they'd more likely be accepted by the world as real and we'd be much more effective at encouraging them to climb the ladder to heaven (Ephesians 4:1-6; 1 Peter 4:11; 1 Corinthians 1:10). Like Jacob, they'll proclaim how awesome the house of God is as the gateway to heaven (Genesis 28:10-17).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org