Tear Down This Wall!

July 15, 2007

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! — Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate, West Berlin, Germany, June 12, 1987

For twenty-six years, the Berlin wall had stood as a symbol of the Cold War. The wall separated people from their immediate families, from their jobs, from their homes. The personal tradgedy and loss was immeasurable. While there were numerous successful escapes across the wall over the years, there were also tragedies as nearly 200 people were killed trying to cross.

On June 12, 1987, in the defining moment of his presidency, Ronald Reagan issued an historic challenge to the Soviet leader to tear that wall down. Finally, on November 9, 1989, the East German government announced that people would be permitted to pass freely between east and west. What followed was a scene of euphoria, of tearful reuninons, a mass celebration unequaled in our times. Weeks of ecstatic celebration were broadcast on television news around the world. It was indeed a great time as the entire world shared in the joy of these events.

The churches of Christ have their own “Berlin walls.” These walls are not made of concrete, steel, and barbed wire. They are not defended with machine guns, but they are tenaciously defended nonetheless. Like that other wall, these walls represent faulty ideology. These walls divide families. They are monuments to sin and folly, and they stand in the way of the mission of the church toward the world. Those walls need to come down.

Those whom God has adopted as children (Gal 3:26-27) should not be divided over sincere differences of opinion on lesser matters. Differing opinions are inevitable among fallible humans. God made us, and He knows what we are made of. God has made it abundantly clear what are the essential elements for unity (1 Cor 15:1-11, Eph 4:1-6). We have no right to erect walls of division over other issues.

What euphoria, what celebration will be seen among the children of God when these walls come down! What joyful reunions! What a great news story for the world, as the Lord’s prayer for unity finally comes to fulfilment in the church! What a great day for belief and conversion that will be!

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if you seek to do the will of God, if you seek to win the world for Christ, if you seek to show the love of Christ to those who, like yourselves, have been saved by grace, then come here to this gate. Brothers and sisters, for the sake of our Lord and his church, open the gate! Brothers and sisters, tear down those walls!


  1. I’m with you on removing these walls; unfortunately invisible walls are tougher to tear down than the brick and mortar type…Divisions within the RM churches, in my estimation, are perceived differently by each of the groups; some churches feel no particular divisions exist, and accept others within the RM as brothers even if they differ in their understanding of God’s Word.The ultra conservative branch that believes they alone in the RM are God’s children, will hang around for a long time, but I believe they will gradually change their position, at least enough to recognize there just might be other Christians outside their walls.

  2. Alan:I just wanted to point out the irony in your post… Regan was a life long member of the Disciples of Christ.-Clarke

  3. Hi Clarke,Ironic indeed!

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