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Turbulent Times

May 16, 2007

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These are turbulent times for my tribe. A number of churches here in the middle Tennessee area have split or splintered. Some members have left and found homes among other churches; others have started a new congregation.  I spoke with one of my neighbors last night who when they learned where we worshiped told me that they had a family member that used to attend Madison, but is now worshiping with another congregation near by. A little later a fellow was giving me an estimate on some concrete work and as we talked he learned we worshiped at Madison. He too had heard rumors of the trouble there, and what he had heard was not even close to what happened. My tribe is not the only group dealing with this problem. It can be found in most every denomination today. People are more concerned today with a personal and meaningful relationship with Jesus than holding on to the traditions of their parents and grand parents.

I mention this as a back ground to what I want to say about division. I believe that even though God hates division I do believe that it is often inevitable and necessary for the church to grow. In dealing with the division at Corinth Paul makes and interesting statement, “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.“ (I Cor. 11:18-19). Division has a way of showing a person’s heart. Emotions rise, tempers flair, some call it righteous indignation, other a real window to the soul. It sometimes becomes a “holy road rage” for lack of a better term.

Sadly most division is about power and control and not the issues that are put forth as the root cause. And when the dust settles what is clear to the Father is, “those who are approved”.

Often the results are positive, as in the case with Paul and Barnabas over John Mark recorded in the book of Acts. Instead of just one missionary journey this division resulted in two missionary journeys, and that was good for the Kingdom.  In other cases it doesn’t work for the good of all. Often those with factious spirits usually find friendship based upon having common enemies, and then when there is no enemy to battle, they usually will turn on each other. Those situations usually end in the death of the group…and that is not always a bad thing.

16 There are six things the LORD hates,
       seven that are detestable to him:

17 haughty eyes,
       a lying tongue,
       hands that shed innocent blood,

18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
       feet that are quick to rush into evil,

 19 a false witness who pours out lies
       and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Prov. 6:16-19

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2 comments

  1. Good post on a sad topic. We just can’t help but shoot our wounded, but their are some churches bucking the trend, praise God.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and posting.

    BTW, I like your choice of background! 🙂


  2. Thanks for stopping by Danny, your thoughts are always appeciated. As to background choices…you know what they say…”great minds…”



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