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.