What a strange time to find myself in. We live in an age of political correctness standing hand-in-hand with no-holds-barred vitriolic dialogue, I think perhaps we’ve lost the simple ability to debate a topic without either being careful not to bug anyone, or descending into rants and diatribes, with labels and name-calling. What happened folks??
Even in churches, these two modes of communication jockey with each other, so most people, because they are peace-loving, shy away from debating about what’s true and what isn’t, thinking it’s wrong to disagree. But it’s not. How much peace are we going to have as believers if we’re not willing to earnestly contend for the truths in the scripture? And if it was wrong to disagree, why then would Paul say this?
1COR 11:18 and 19
For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it.
For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.
So, in a division, in order to know which opinion is correct, we must examine the division, discuss it and study out the answer together. In this process, it will become evident who has been studying and praying about these matters, which is what we’re supposed to do. This will help others to embrace the same process for themselves. To take the side of scripture, the side of God, not of another person and their opinion. What vital question did Moses ask when confronting the children of Israel with their fundamental choice? “Who is on the Lord’s side?” Not, who is on my side?
I can see that most divisions ending in a church split, and spawning new denominations are because disputes arise and are not dealt with in the fashion they were in the book of Acts, where the church leaders pondered issues, prayed and studied, and then gave an agreed-upon response. Not so now. What I see now is people following each other and splitting away, following the leader they chose, rather than searching the scriptures together, determined that all should be on the Lord’s side together.
It saddens me and always will, that this happens so frequently. Really all we need to do is ask God for wisdom in these situations, then wait for the answer, as it says in the book of James. So I say not to fear controversies, for they must happen as we all navigate this bumpy terrain. And don’t fear debate, or let it turn into ‘us vs. them.’ We are a body of believers, and just as the body’s systems work to rid itself of toxins, we can work together to help rid ourselves of toxic practices and attitudes that cause us to turn away from each other and divide once again. Together, our focus and goal should be in affirming our joint adherence to God and His word. Well, that’s all I have to say on that topic!! Aren’t you glad? 🙂