Monday, March 4, 2013

Is Christ Divided?

Photo Credit: WikiCommons / www.forestwander.com


Sectarianism Is Sin

 

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul(1 Corinthians 1:10-13 NKJV) 


One certain church had a pastor who was getting up there in years. A Godly man he was who stood firmly upon the Word of God. We will call him Steve. He was a man who rightly divided the word of truth and preached the full counsel of God. Steve pastored this particular church for some 30 years. The church also had a youth minister whom Steve saw great potential in. The youth pastor's name is Brian, who likewise stood firmly upon the Word of God and rightly divided the word of truth. Pastor Steve decides to start sharing the pulpit with Pastor Brian in order to give him experience. All is well at first, but soon the church was dividing. All the younger members started demanding Brian take over as head pastor and the older members were demanding Pastor Brian to be gone saying, "we want our older pastor preaching."  

One must always remember the cross of Christ divides the saved and the unsaved, but not the body of Christ. Some mistakenly accept all forms of doctrine for the sake of unity. But this is not what the above passage is saying. "If someone comes preaching a different gospel, let him be accursed." (See Galatians 1:8) The foundation for a unified church is found on the centrality of the gospel of Christ. Can we meet in agreement here? If so, then we are able to come together and to be one in Christ. If the church above hired a pastor who did not believe in the resurrection, then we have a problem. On the other hand, if one church believes in a pre-trib rapture, for example, they would want a pastor who believes like wise. This is understandable. While two may disagree in the timing of the rapture, they still may be accepting of each as brothers in the Lord and serve Him in many ways together. Also, it is OK to have our favorite teachers, but we must remember we may only be a few steps away form having a sectarian spirit. If our boast is in any teacher, then we are in danger of fractions and divisions. Paul finished the first chapter of Corinthians with a key to remember; "that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:31) This is key to avoiding a sectarian spirit; keep our boast on the Lord, and not on ourselves, anyone or anything else.

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14 NKJV)

18 comments:

  1. We are going through this very thing in my church Ken; we have had a pastoral relationship that has been long and affectionate; one that has run deep between our congregation and the pastor who has been with us during times of crisis and of joy. The transition is always painful and a challenge, but hanging on to a pastoral relationship that has officially ended can be very damaging to a congregation! We are learning to accept and love the new pastor that God and our old pastor faithfully put in the position to lead us and guide us. :)

    Great post my dear friend!
    Denise

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    1. Denise, I lift up you and your church up in prayer, that the church grows to accept the new pastor. A change in pastors can be challenging, I pray that it does not lead to division. Thank you for sharing and may God bless you, my friend.

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  2. This is a good warning, Ken. I have seen this happen in the church. I will always remember reading about a certain Indian Chief who, when asked why he would not accept Christianity said he could not accept a religion so divided.
    That has given me a clear perspective about how we must be careful how we speak about a fellow Christian or church who has a testimony for Christ...Someone may not want to join our Christian family if it is full of the same stuff as a broken family. (shouting, accusation, whining, etc...)
    Also, the accuser of the brethren is Satan...We must be careful when confronting a fellow believer with an error (there is a procedure to follow in the Bible) and it must be done IN LOVE...
    Good post.
    ~God bless~
    Lisa

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    1. Lisa, Excellent point. If we do disagree on something, there is no reason to get into a knock down fight over it. We may debate something with love and respect, but not with anger. When the world looks at us and sees a divided and fighting church, they say, "who is this Jesus?" We can be standing in the way of them entering into the kingdom. Thank you for sharing and may God bless you.

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  3. Well said, Ken. The enemy is always, always looking to conquer and divide, isn't he? I think you've done a very good job of pointing out the difference between doctrinal issues, and other differences in interpretation. We must never compromise on the essential centrality of the gospel of Christ. It dismays me at how often we *flawed sinners* mess things up. I just told someone the other day how difficult it is at times to see Jesus past all the *people* in the way.

    This is where individuals, and the church as a whole, so desperately need the Holy Spirit. It is only with His discernment and guidance that we will gain the spiritual understanding we need.

    May the world see Jesus IN us, instead of in spite of us.

    "They will know we are Christians by our love..."

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Sharon, oh yes he is. If he can divide us, the less effective we will be. I agree fully, "May the world see Jesus IN us, instead of in spite of us." Thank you for sharing your thoughts and may God bless you.

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  4. Sadly I have witnessed this also...it is very damaging to new Christians.

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  5. Dee, oh yes it is damaging and confusing to new believers. Thank you for your comment and may God bless you.

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  6. A wise post. We would all do well to heed Paul's words and be humble before God and our fellow man.

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    1. Peggy, Humility is so vital in our walk with the Lord. Thank you for your comment and may God bless you.

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  7. Hi Ken,
    Satan is always dividing and if it is pastors then it is music. :s That's the issue we have in our church. The older group wants the old hymns and the younger group wants the more upbeat worship songs from today. Even when the music is mixed up to satisfy both sides, there is still rebellion in the fact that some won't sing to the songs they don't like or even leave the room. :(

    The body of Christ should not be divided or how else will it stand? I guess this is just another tell tale sign that Jesus is coming and soon.

    Good thoughts brother, thanks for sharing. :)
    <><

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    1. Child of God. It is sad to see the division in your church over music. Unfortunately music is a big issue today in the church. I was raised in a church which believed instrumental music was a sin. This was one of a few different doctrines which divided them with the rest of the church. Thank you for your comment and may God bless you.

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  8. Hi Ken,
    So true what you emphasized in that it is the Lord who is the One to be glorified.
    what came to my mind as I read the story was that there could have been peace in that church if the two men would have shared what each of them felt they had been given to share. It is not about 'favourite people', we are all a part of the body of Christ if we believe, and the scriptures themselves are the plumb line that tells us if what is said is from God. I find it is lovely when the church operates as it was meant to with each sharing what they have been given to share, and God bless you in your wise sharing.

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    1. Brenda, excellent point. We each have our part in the body of Christ, it is not about our favorites, but all about Jesus. Thank you for sharing your comment and may God bless you

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  9. Amen! I think of Jesus' prayer in John 17: that we may be one in Christ.

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  10. Karen, Thank you for your comment. It is God's desire that we be one in Christ Jesus. May God bless you

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  11. Ken, I enjoy your wise posts. Unity in Christ. that's so important for so many reasons.

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    1. Thank you Peggy and may God bless

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