Category Archives: Church Divided

Church Divided Part Two

What factors contribute to unity in the church today? We have all these denominations throughout the world that hold their own beliefs. We have the Catholics, Protestants, Methodist, and many others that claim that they are Christian. What does the Bible say in this regard?

This will conclude the article that was done a few years ago about church division. But we need to take a look at the history of the church. In his book, “A History of Christianity,” by Kenneth Scott Latourette states: “As we have suggested, Christianity early displayed one of the most striking features of its history, the contrast between the dream of complete unity, the unity of the kind of self-giving love seen in Christ, and division. No other religion has so high an ideal of an inclusive community of love. Yet, as we are to see again and again in the course of our story, no other religion has had as many divisions and as many bitter controversies between its adherents.”[1]

“Historian Will Durant explains: “The Church took over some religious customs and forms common in pre-Christian [pagan] Rome—the stole and other vestments of pagan priests, the use of incense and holy water in purifications, the burning of candles and an everlasting light before the altar, the worship of the saints, the architecture of the basilica, the law of Rome as a basis for canon law, the title of Pontifex Maximus for the Supreme Pontiff, and, in the fourth century, the Latin language . . . Soon the bishops, rather than the Roman prefects, would be the source of order and the seat of power in the cities; the metropolitans, or archbishops, would support, if not supplant, the provincial governors; and the synod of bishops would succeed the provincial assembly. The Roman Church followed in the footsteps of the Roman state.”—The Story of Civilization: Part III—Caesar and Christ.”[2]

Seven key factors that contribute to unity in worship are noted below. Reasoning on these points and looking up the scriptures cited will contribute to your development of godly wisdom, thinking ability, and discernment-qualities all of us need. (Proverbs 5:1, 2; Philippians 1:9-11) Consider these one at a time and think about them and see that this is what all churches should have!

  1. We acknowledge Jehovah’s right to set the standard as to good and bad.[3]

“Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. 6 In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“Do not put YOUR trust in nobles, Nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.  4 His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; In that day his thoughts do perish.  5 Happy is the one who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in Jehovah his God.” (Psalm 146:3-5)”

“This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser, the Holy One of Israel: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit [yourself], the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk.” (Isaiah 48:17)[4]

 

  1. We have God’s Word to guide us. 

“Indeed, that is why we also thank God incessantly, because when YOU received God’s word, which YOU heard from us, YOU accepted it, not as the word of men, but, just as it truthfully is, as the word of God, which is also at work in YOU believers.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

“There exists a way that is upright before a man, but the ways of death are the end of it afterward.” (Proverbs 14:12)

“I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step. 24 Correct me, O Jehovah, however with judgment; not in your anger, that you may not reduce me to nothing.” (Jeremiah 10:23-24)

“The heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

“if, moreover, you call out for understanding itself and you give forth your voice for discernment itself, 4 if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, 5 in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:3-5)

“All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

  1. We all benefit from the same spiritual feeding program. 

“And all your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant.” (Isaiah 54:13)

“And let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, 25 not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as YOU behold the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: “Look! My own servants will eat, but YOU yourselves will go hungry. Look! My own servants will drink, but YOU yourselves will go thirsty. Look! My own servants will rejoice, but YOU yourselves will suffer shame. 14 Look! My own servants will cry out joyfully because of the good condition of the heart, but YOU yourselves will make outcries because of the pain of heart and YOU will howl because of sheer breakdown of spirit.” (Isaiah 65:13,14)

4. Jesus Christ, and no human, is our leader. 

“But YOU, do not YOU be called Rabbi, for one is YOUR teacher, whereas all YOU are brothers. 9 Moreover, do not call anyone YOUR father on earth, for one is YOUR Father, the heavenly One. 10 Neither be called ‘leaders,’ for YOUR Leader is one, the Christ.” (Matthew 23:8-10)

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and it is as a free gift that they are being declared righteous by his undeserved kindness through the release by the ransom [paid] by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23,24)

“For through the undeserved kindness given to me I tell everyone there among YOU not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think; but to think so as to have a sound mind, each one as God has distributed to him a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)

5. We look to God’s Kingdom government as the only hope for mankind.

““YOU must pray, then, this way: “‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. 10 Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth. 33 “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these [other] things will be added to YOU.” (Matthew 6:9,10,33)

“And he will certainly render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.” (Micah 4:3)

“The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message which YOU have heard from [the] beginning, that we should have love for one another; 12 not like Cain, who originated with the wicked one and slaughtered his brother. And for the sake of what did he slaughter him? Because his own works were wicked, but those of his brother [were] righteous.” (1 John 3:10-12)

6. Holy spirit produces in worshipers of Jehovah quality that are vital to Christian Unity. 

“On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

“And we are witnesses of these matters, and so is the holy spirit, which God has given to those obeying him as ruler.”” (Acts 5:32 )

“By this all will know that YOU are my disciples, if YOU have love among yourselves.”” (John 13:35)

“He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love. 20 If anyone makes the statement: “I love God,” and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot be loving God, whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him, that the one who loves God should be loving his brother also.” (1 John 4:8,20,21) 

  1. All of God’s true worshipers share in preaching the good news of his Kingdom.

“And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

“He said to him: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 The second, like it, is this, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)

“For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation.” (Romans 10:10)

Unitedly worshiping Jehovah our God draws us closer to him and enables us to enjoy refreshing association with fellow believers. Pslams 133:1 says: “Look! How good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!” What will be your plan in action?

 

© Unpublished Copyright 07/2003

 

 

 

 

 

[1] A History of Christianity, Volume I, by Kenneth Scott Latourette, page 119-120

[2] sh 262, published by the watchtower Bible Tract Society

[3] Worship the Only true God, published by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society © 2002

[4] All quotes are from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT), published by the Watchtower Bible Tract Society © 1984 unless otherwise noted.

Church Divided Part One

We look at churches today and see that there are hundreds of denominations in this world. And they all disagree or agree on different doctrinal issues. But what divides us? Straight, Gay, lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or whatever, we are called to love. We are God’s Children. We are called to be “Christ-like.” All that are in Christ should be united as a body.

We all claim that denomination say they are the true churches and the other side says they are wrong. Some of the issues that Churches face are homosexuality, worship, theology, and basic doctrinal issues. The Major concern for us today is Homosexuality. This will be our Main focus point.

Homosexuality has become a big issue among many churches today. Why? Because more churches have been more accepting or not accepting of that kind of person. The gay Community wants to have the same civil rights as a heterosexual. Most churches teach that homosexuality is wrong. But what happened to “Love one another?” (John 13:35)

An article that appeared in “Christianity Today,” subtitled, Why Words Matter said, “We are to love our fellows, to love all people, in fact, as neighbors. All people bear the image of God.” (Francis Schaeffer) How true these words are for us today!

12:34 Offspring of vipers! How are you able to say anything good, since you are evil? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. 12:35 The good man brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil man brings evil things out of an evil treasure. 12:36 I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak. 12:37 For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.”

(Matthew 12:34-37, The Net Bible WWW.BIBLE.ORG)

The Christian knows that he/she will be held accountable for words uttered. We are all made in God’s image so we are to “Love one Another.”-John 13:35.

As the body of Christ, we are to be Christ-like as 1 Peter 4:1-11. Jesus taught unity not division in the Church. He did not come down to earth to divide us or to condemn us. He comes to unit us in the Body of Christ as believers. (Ephesians 4:1-16)

Examples For Us Today

The Early Church

“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas “; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (1 Corinthians 1:10-17, NIV)

Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ had to correct the Corinth Church because several congregations were saying I belong to this person, and that person. Paul comes in and says, “Is Christ divided?” This is a question that we need to ask ourselves. Is Christ divided in hundreds of different Churches? Where do we stand?

The second example is in 1 Corinthians 3:1-23:“Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly–mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe–as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.

If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future–all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unity In Christ

In The Body of Christ

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”-Galatians 3:26-29. If we believe in Jesus and call him our personal Savior, it doesn’t matter if we are gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, or transgender.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Yes! No matter what people may say or think, as long as we are in Christ, there is no division. Some key points that need to be noted as regards to how the body of Christ is united. Here is a list of seven keys:

  1.   
  2. Completely be humble and gentile
  3. Be patient with one another
  4. Bearing with one another in love
  5. Keeping the unity of the spirit through the bond of love
  6. One body, one Spirit
  7. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of All
  8. Speak the Truth in love  

(Based on Eph. 4:1-16)

 

 

“To prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:12, 13, NIV)

The purpose of the Body is to be united so that the body can be built up. To help one another and without that we are fooling ourselves. “We all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.”

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Eph. 4:16, NIV) Paul is speaking when he says, “From him,” Jesus is held together by every supporting ligament. That the Body of Christ will grow and is build up in love as each part does its work in the Kingdom of God. (Compare Psalm 133)

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5 NIV)

We should “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:3) There should be no division in the Body of Christ. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5 NIV)

The Early Church

An Example of Unity

 

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47, NIV) This is the true church. This is how the Church today should be united. Having everything in common, not disagreeing on scriptures, doctrine. WE should be united. Not Divided.

Conclusion

The Following are Key Verses in Bold:

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one bodywhether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.”-1 Corinthians 12:12-31. Next two pages are Extra Information that I thought would describe Unity and Division very well.

Unity: The Gift of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:1-13)

Since there was division in the Corinthian church, Paul began with an emphasis on the oneness of the church. He pointed out four wonderful bonds of spiritual unity.

We confess the same Lord (vv. 1-3).

Paul contrasted their experience as unconverted idolaters with their present experience as Christians. They had worshiped dead idols, but now they belonged to the living God. Their idols never spoke to them, but God spoke to them by His Spirit, and He even spoke through them in the gift of prophecy. When they were lost, they were under the control of the demons (1 Cor. 10:20) and were led astray (“carried away,” 1 Cor. 12:2). But now the Spirit of God lived in them and directed them.

It is only through the Spirit that a person can honestly say; “Jesus is Lord.” A sneering sinner may mouth the words, but he is not giving a true confession. (Perhaps Paul was referring to things they had said when influenced by the demons prior to conversion.) It is important to note that the believer is always in control of himself when the Holy Spirit is at work (1 Cor. 14:32) because Jesus Christ the Lord is in charge. Any so-called “Spirit manifestation” that robs a person of self-control is not of God; for “the fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23, nasb).

If Jesus Christ truly is Lord in our lives, then there should be unity in the church. Division and dissension among God’s people only weakens their united testimony to a lost world (John 17:20-21).

 

The members promote unity as they discover their dependence on one another (vv. 21-26).

Diversity in the body is an evidence of the wisdom of God. Each member needs the other members, and no member can afford to become independent. When a part of the human body becomes independent, you have a serious problem that could lead to sickness and even death. In a healthy human body, the various members cooperate with each other and even compensate for each other when a crisis occurs. The instant any part of the body says to any other part, “I don’t need you!” it begins to weaken and die and create problems for the whole body.

A famous preacher was speaking at a ministers’ meeting, and he took time before and after the meeting to shake hands with the pastors and chat with them. A friend asked him, “Why take time for a group of men you may never see again?” The world-renowned preacher smiled and said, “Well, I may be where I am because of them! Anyway, if I didn’t need them on the way up, I might need them on the way down!” No Christian servant can say to any other servant, “My ministry can get along without you!”

Paul may be referring to the private parts of the body in 1 Corinthians 12:23-24. If so, then to “bestow honor” on them refers to the use of attractive clothing. The more beautiful parts of the body need no special help.

God’s desire is that there be no division (“schism”) in the church. Diversity leads to disunity when the members compete with one another; but diversity leads to unity when the members care for one another. How do the members care for each other? By each one functioning according to God’s will and helping the other members to function. If one member suffers, it affects every member. If one member is healthy, it helps the others to be strong.

 

RCYM Staff

Edited By Mike Arbuckle

Affirming GBLTQ Youth

Copyright 1998, revised 11/99

All Rights Reserved.