Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Division – A Disease in the Church

on February 2, 2014

There is a disease that makes its way through churches around the world, bringing pain, suffering, heartbreak and ugliness. It turns church families into splintered fragments and transforms friends into enemies. It causes people within the church to leave, and curious unbelievers to flee the other direction. It is not profitable, nor is it pleasing to the Lord God of the Bible. Strangely enough, it is often welcomed into the church as a sort of antidote, but the truth is this disease is a cunning tool of the enemy to attack God’s people. This disease is called Division.

 

Before you start writing your rebuttal comments, pray listen to all of what I’m sharing. I know that there are times when division is necessary, Biblical and just. I am not one to say we should overlook primary doctrinal falsehoods or ignore issues of ongoing sin within the church. Not at all. There is a time for division. The problem is, unnecessary division is running rampant in the church and it is causing God’s people to be unable to even recognize the kind of unity Jesus Christ wanted for us. We are missing out on that brethren! We are forfeiting one of His greatest gifts to His church and we are grieving the heart of the Father by attacking one another needlessly.

 

Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23….

 

“20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

 

Oh the loving heart of Jesus! How He loved and loves us…ALL OF US! God says that when a man and a woman are joined together in marriage, they become one flesh (both spiritually and physically). Well God has also knit His church together to become “perfectly one”. If a husband and wife divide it is called divorce, and we know God hates divorce. Division in the church amongst brothers and sisters is a type of divorce. We should be perfectly one, as our precious Savior prayed.

 

Division is Usually Wrong

 

“1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” Titus 3:1-11

 

Here is a breakdown of just some of the commandments God gives here. Now keep in mind that these are instructions from our Lord, so going against them is therefore sin.

 

1. Speak evil of no one. Wait…no one? That’s right. We are to speak evil of no human being. The original Greek word for “evil” is “blasphēmeō” which translates to “to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate, blaspheme”. So we are not to speak evil of, speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate or blaspheme anyone. Ouch…I’m guilty. Repenting.

 

2. Avoid quarreling. Proverbs 20:3 says, “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.” Again…guilty.

 

3. Avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Wow. So all of the controversies I have spent countless hours debating people over….they are worthless? Unprofitable? That’s what God says. Again, I’m convicted. Repenting. Lord change my heart! I ask here, what is foolish? We’ll get into that a bit later, but right off we can see that, unless God is contradicting Himself (which He is not) there are foolish reasons for division and there are necessary reasons. The necessary are those that pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

4. Do not STIR UP DIVISION. I bolded that for emphasis. The word for divisive here is one that means “able to choose, causing division, factious, a follower of false doctrine, schismatic.” Interestingly, the root word is “hairetizō” which is to choose a sect. Basically this is a person who finds it easy and acceptable to choose a side, reject others, cause a schism in the body and essentially cause division. This person looks for occasions to stir up dissention and division. God says we are to be a people of unity, not division.

 

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10

 

“Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:3-6

 

“But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.” Luke 11:17

 

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” Psalm 133:1

 

“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.” 1 John 2:9

 

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15

 

Who is the Church?

 

If division in the church is wrong, then who is the church? Who is my brother/sister? You may not like the answer. You may reject it, but remember that we are following God’s Word, not the logic of man. How does God say one becomes a saved, follower of Christ and a part of the church family?

 

Believes in Jesus! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

Confess Jesus! “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

 

If a man or woman believes in and confesses the Jesus Christ of the Bible (that He is God, born of a virgin, born to save the sons of man by His death and resurrection, etc), then he or she is saved. They receive salvation. The fruit of that new life salvation we see is repentance, good works, etc., but salvation was not earned by good works. They are merely the after effects and fruits of the free gift of salvation.

 

Does the Bible teach that a brother or sister in the Lord has to have all of their doctrine right to be counted as such? Absolutely not! In fact, we see instances in scripture, like in Romans, where God literally gives permission for there to be differences. One man eats meat and another does not, but they both do so in confidence unto the Lord. One esteems one day more than another and the other esteems them all the same, but do it as unto the Lord! Someone’s right ad someone’s wrong, but God says these things don’t matter. In the same way, divisions over minor issues in the church (predestination vs free will, styles of worship, gifts of the Spirit, etc) are wrong and evil in the sight of the Lord.

 

Be very careful my friends. Be very careful not to cast judgment based on your own logic. Be ever so careful not to call someone an unbeliever simply because you disagree with some of their doctrine. If that person has believed in and confessed Christ, he or she is saved and the bride of Christ. Christ does not take pleasure in His bride being attacked, bashed, despised, etc. He is a jealous God and He will deal with those who cause division and harm His bride.

 

Is there a reason for division? Sometimes.

 

There are sometimes needful divisions that occur. God is clear that we are not to embrace false teaching that perverts the gospel of Jesus Christ. If a pastor/teacher claims that Jesus Christ is not enough, and you need something more to be saved, that is something to come against and expose. Expose anyone who claims to be a Christian and denies the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the all-sufficiency of Christ, the power of the triunity of God and the total forgiveness of sins by the washing of the blood of the Lamb. Reject teachings that we must change the gospel message or that we don’t need scripture. Also hold accountable those who have been given authority in the church. The scripture gives guidelines for how a pastor/elder must live.

 

Be Careful! Do not believe every rumor you hear!

 

“Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.” 1 Timothy 5:9

 

 

I share this message from God’s Word because I see the ugly disease of division and strife tearing through the church of God’s people. It’s no surprise. As we get closer to the end times, we expect it. Yet I am greatly disheartened by well know teachers, beloved friends and even myself, at times, seeing that we are so quick to cast out and tread down those who we find disagreement with. I encourage you brothers and sisters (and myself) to remember that, when it comes to minor issues of doctrinal difference, division is wrong. Do not speak evil but be graceful. Teachers, spend more time teaching God’s Word and less time pointing out where everyone else is doing it wrong. God’s Word is the truth that will set us free and inoculate us against bad teaching.

 

God is not pleased by those who stir up division, who delight in bringing down others or who hate under the masked disguise of “conviction”. Do not allow minor issues of doctrinal difference cause you to look at a brother or sister and see an unbeliever. You have no right to make that call. Only God knows the heart of that person. Pray. Be quiet. Love. Speak and live by truth. Focus on God’s Word. Focus on unity and peace within the church. Oh what a glorious light will shine forth, drawing the lost to the love of God! They will know us by our LOVE! And they will want it.

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5 responses to “Division – A Disease in the Church

  1. Kenny says:

    Chelsea, the fundamentalists who wrote off many of us in the past are now fighting each other. Good luck with that. Jesus doesn’t have points of view. He has points TO view!

  2. gwwministry says:

    Unfortunately you are correct. Praying for unity and peace so that we can further advance the kingdom of God!

  3. valeribarnes says:

    Best yet! You nailed it! This is eating away at the church and causing unbelievers to scoff at us. Thank you for this post!

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