Division Speaks Volumes About What We Value Most

There is a scene in Hotel Rawanda where Joaquin Phoenix has a conversation with a Rwandan journalist about what the difference is between a Hutu and a Tutsie. You can see it in this clip starting at 3:00

JP – “What is the actual difference between a Hutu and a Tutsie?”

Journalist – “According to the Belgian colonists the Tutsies are taller and more elegant. It was the Belgians that created the division.”

JP – “How?”

Journalist – “They pick people…those with thinner noses, lighter skin. They used to measure the width of people’s noses. The Belgians used the Tutsies to run the country and when they left they left the power to the Hutus and of course the Hutus took revenge on the Tutsies for years of oppression.”

The point is, someone from the outside picked an arbitrary line of division and then instigated a power struggle over that issue that resulted in total destruction and inhumanity. Rwanda is an extreme example of something that happens far too often in Christianity.

The issues we are willing to divide over highlights what we value most. What do the issues we divide the Lord’s body over say about our priorities? Do we value turf over core doctrine? Do we value minutia over core truths of our faith? Do we take arbitrary things and make them mandatory? I can’t help but think that much of the conflict that happens in congregations could be avoided if people were acting like Christians.

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

13 Responses to Division Speaks Volumes About What We Value Most

  1. hank says:

    “Do we value turf over core doctrine?”

    But, what is (which things constitue) “core doctrine”? For argumentns sake, let’s assum I’M is NOT a core doctrine. Even still, there are those in my own congregation who believe it is against the will of God and sinful. At the same time there are also those who disagree and would prefer to even use them. IMO, it seems as though as soon as one pushes to employ I’M, division would be inevitable. You see, even if we all agreed the I’M was NOT a part of core doctrine, how would/could division be avoided? (And the same could be said of every other “non core doctrines” over which some consider sinful and others seek to practice, or teach).

    While I am not sure it is right, I kind of believe that a person should ask the leaders of any particular church where it is they stand on any number of issues and if satisfactory, then determine to uphold and even defend such conclusions.

    If and when a person or group of people desire a thing which violates the predertimed stances, they should worship and work with another church that feels the same. Perhaps that is why the will of the Lord was for every church to be self governed.

    I agree that there should not be division(s) in the church. But, I do not know how to prevent them.

    What do you think? How can division really be avoided? Is there a practical answer for that?

    • mattdabbs says:

      Hank,

      Good points. This is not fixed in a day or via one sermon. Many will disagree over what is on the list of “core doctrines” and which ones are not as important. First, it is clear that not all doctrines are on the same level. We have to let scripture dictate for us which teachings are “of first importance” (like in 1 Cor 15:3). Paul also says that some matters are disputable, which means brothers will come to differing conclusions on them and that it is okay that it happens like that and even says that we shouldn’t fight over such matters (Rom 14:1). He even says, “each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Rom 14:5). When I was growing up you wouldn’t hear a verse like that being taught because there was a right way and a wrong way on every issue. Nothing was disputable. But that is not what Paul says. The question is, how do we determine which issues are disputable and which are indisputable? And, like you said, we may even find that there are disputable matters that can still divide us at the end of the day. One phrase I will toss out there that I think works pretty well is “unity without uniformity.” That basically means that you won’t get 500 people to agree on every issue but we can still find unity in the core truths of our faith…there is unity despite a lack of 100% uniformity of belief.

      The only answer I can come up with is to do our best to allow scripture to define which are the indisputable matters and which ones are not. For instance Paul specifically lays out in Romans 14 some specific matters that it is perfectly acceptable for people to come to differing conclusions on and still be right with God. I would have to do some digging for other scriptures like that to find more issues that scripture actually says are in that category. We also would have to look and see which issues are at the core of our faith. These types of issues are repeated, given stern warnings about, and are written about by Paul, Peter, John, and others in the epistles as extremely serious matters because they are inextricably tied to the roots of our faith. In other words, remove these pieces and Christianity is no longer Christianity. I have to think on this one some more and do some praying as well because this is a HUGE issue.

      I also like what you have to say at the end of your post about people being willing to peacefully go where they fit best. I think that can be a healthy way to view this.

  2. If churches taught John 14-17 as core doctrine rather than interpretations of proof-texts pulled out of context in the epistles (and had been doing so for generations), this wouldn’t be a problem.

    The problem is self. We like to be right. We like to be the only ones right. We like the idea that we’re the only ones who are going to be saved. We like being part of the victorious country and the winning team and correct political party and solely-blessed religious minority but that means others must lose, and we like that.

    In all those cases, though, we’re the ones who have drawn the lines and chosen up the sides and emphasized what matters little over what matters most.

    We truly don’t know the difference anymore, and we don’t care as long as we win.

    We don’t know scriptural doctrine from man-made doctrine. We don’t know a scripture from a quote from “Pilgrim’s Progress” or a Billy Graham column. We don’t know a quote from the Bible from an interpretation of that quote or an opinion based on the interpretation or a doctrine based on that opinion.

    And we don’t care as long as we win, and someone else loses.

    • mattdabbs says:

      If there are verses we have to ignore to hold our positions we don’t stand on solid ground. I think you are right that we like to be right but I think there are less and less people are liking the fact that others must lose…hence Rob Bell, etc on universalist sounding teaching.

    • Ken Sublett says:

      I would back up a few chapters remembering that the CENI of Jesus was to “teach what He commanded to be taught.” Peter expands that to the prophecies by the Spirit OF Christ and the prophecies made more certain by Jesus. Peter notes that he was leaving an eye-and ear witness proven by supernatural signs and left that as a MARK to identify false teachers.

      John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not:
      …..for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
      John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him:
      …..the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

      Since disciples go to the school of Christ and not to WORKS meaning rituals, we might go back again:

      Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he,
      ……and that I do nothing of myself;
      ……but as my Father hath taught me,
      ……I speak these things. John 8:28

      And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone;
      …..or I do alway those things that please him. John 8:29

      As he spake these words, many believed on him. John 8:30

      Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him,
      If ye continue in MY word, then are ye MY disciples indeed; John 8:31

      Paul commands how this is done in what he calls “synagogue” which were Word-of-God -only from the wilderness onward:

      That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom 15: 6

      Using that which is written for our learning. This is how all ekklesias are united. “Church” has no other task or taskmasters.

      1 Cor. 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren,
      …..by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
      …..that ye all speak the same thing,
      …..and that there be no divisions among you;
      …..but that ye be perfectly joined together
      …..in the same mind and in the same judgment.

      The proof that you have the kingdom WITHIN (as opposed to outside rituals) is:

      John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love;
      ……even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
      John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
      John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own:
      …..but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,
      …..therefore the world hateth you.

      God speaks in assertive terms: a disciple doesn’t try to “fill in the blanks with imagination from Spiritual Formation.” I have worked on the following supplying the way words were USED in texts of the time. A disciple LEARNS and does not PERFORM or WATCH.

      1. Violent men take the kingdom with violence
      2. The Kingdom does not come with “Relligious Observations.” The kingdom comes when Christ’s WILL is done on earth.”
      3. Works of righteousness are defined self-compose and self-perform

      • mattdabbs says:

        So how do you keep the commands of Christ and be his disciple if this sentence is true,

        “A disciple LEARNS and does not PERFORM or WATCH.”

        Maybe I am not understanding what you are meaning when you say perform and watch?

        Ephesians 4 teaches us that God’s people are to be about works of service that have come from God. Ephesians 2:10 teaches us there are “good works” God expects us to do and that is a part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is a follower. They learn by listening and by doing. That is why Jesus sent them out to minister and teach both during and after Jesus’ earthly ministry. He didn’t just expect them to learn and then sit like bumps on logs. Am I understanding you correctly here or misreading you? What you wrote there is extremely hard to follow so I am trying to make sure that I get it.

      • Ken Sublett says:

        The only division is over the “works” which we do in what we call “worship services.” No one fights over doing “meals on wheals” or “Disaster Relief” or GOING OUT or giving which demands that your hand never knows what my hand is doing.

        Paul said that God gave gifted men to prepare or equip us to do these works: they are not works of self righteousness because they are not done for “observation” where the kingdom comes without RELIGIOUS observations. Since the kingdom is in us and Jesus said our worship is in SPIRIT (a place as opposed to the temples) and TRUTH which the woman at the well summed up for all times: “Whem Messias comes He will TELL us all things.”

        1Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;
        …….if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth:
        …….that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

        God simply does not need nor will he accept human talent and the works of human hands worshiping in houses built by human hands. “Church” is the most painful day of the week: when I reached 70 I quit torturing myself.

        When we went to Engineering college we were DISCIPLES and the professor supplied all of the resources. When we went out on the job our talent for following the principles might be a matter of life and death. Neither the civil ekklesia nor the church as synagogue could supply any material for reading and discussion: that material was handed down from a higher power. That is why the pattern begun in the wilderness never changed when Paul speaks to all of the churches;

        Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time
        …..hath in every city
        …..them that preach him,
        …..being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

        Paul told Timothy how to conduct church or synagogue:

        1Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to [public] reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
        1Timothy 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee,
        …..which was given thee by prophecy, [teaching that which has been taught]
        …..with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
        1Timothy 4:15 Meditate upon these things;
        ……give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
        1Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself,
        …..and unto the doctrine; continue in them:
        …..for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

        That is what Paul said: we are saved by grace through faith: faith comes only by hearing. hearing comes by the Word of God.

        That is in Contrast to Observance (religious ceremony) and Works of Self which fits the pattern of modern institutes depending wholly on religious observations.

        Both sermons and self composes songs and performing them are post Constantine.

        The Campbells believed that every disciple should be a Bible Scholar and

        Church is A School of Christ
        Worship is Reading and Musing the Word.

        Which is what the not-musical passages command

        SPEAKING is one to another
        Singing AND melody (or grace) is IN THE HEART where Jesus said God looks for our worship. “Psallo” has NO musical connection.

        All preachers should restore the church and relieve the BURDEN of preaching which is most cases results in ‘burnout’ and no satisfaction. A BURDEN in both Hebrew and Greek is a SONG specificially a repeating (repeating, repeating) chorus.

      • mattdabbs says:

        A few things seem to me to contradict each other in what you are saying. If my memory is right you go by CENI? You mention it from time to time and I am assuming it is your interpretive framework/hermeneutic. Correct me on that if I am wrong.

        If that is true, how can you hold to CENI and write,

        “God simply does not need nor will he accept human talent and the works of human hands worshiping in houses built by human hands. “Church” is the most painful day of the week: when I reached 70 I quit torturing myself.”

        as by the example of the New Testament the congregating of God’s people is encouraged and includes worship of God through singing, preaching, etc.

        Are you saying that we should spend all of our time listening and never responding? You wrote,

        “That is what Paul said: we are saved by grace through faith: faith comes only by hearing. hearing comes by the Word of God.

        That is in Contrast to Observance (religious ceremony) and Works of Self which fits the pattern of modern institutes depending wholly on religious observations.

        Both sermons and self composes songs and performing them are post Constantine.”

        I think you are going to way too many extremes here and end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Yes faith comes by hearing God’s Word. We all agree on that but does that negate the fact that corporate worship is written about in God’s Word? And yet you seem to be saying that because you think what happens in corporate worship is merely religious observation and works of the self that we shouldn’t congregate or do the things we are given examples of in the NT? Help me understand if I am misreading you here.

        I am also not sure you are correct in that last sentence, “Both sermons and self composes songs and performing them are post Constantine.” as both are found in scripture in both testaments.

        If I am misreading you here please help me see where I am missing it. Also, please back up that last sentence that I quoted from you.

      • Ken Sublett says:

        as by the example of the New Testament the congregating of God’s people is encouraged and include worship of God through singing, preaching, etc.

        The direct command is to SPEAK one to another: both the civil Ekklesia and Synagogue met roughly each week. The material for discussion was provided by a higher authority. In the case of the synagogue Christ defined it for the Church in the wilderness. The plan was to read through primarily the law and prophets in a three-year cycle. An Episcopalian told me recently that they do that in a one year plan. When Jesus stood up to read the passage was already prescribed and the scrolls were opened. Jesus read Isaiah, said that applied to Him and decently sat down. The pulpit was to hold up the scrolls. There was never any sermonizing other than explaining any unclear passage: that’s what Paul commanded Timothy. There was never an ‘praise service’ in the synagogue which existed from the wilderness onward. That was commanded as the ‘Holy Convocation.” The assembly of the non-Levi people was for reading and understanding the text. Sorry bout that, but that pattern is repeated over and over. Try forgetting the word “sing” and look up the examples of SPEAK and READ. In the Greek world SPEAK is defined as the opposite of poetry or music.

        The preacher (kerusso) and elder (presbyter) is defined as to HERALD. A herald goes and that is why preaching as making up your own text is not an act of worship. Jesus taught in the synagogues and went out to preach (generally)

        If you grasp that ekklesia or Synagogue is A school (only) of the Word (only) and nothing is to be done which is not edification which in the examples means education.

        Matthew 26.30 et hymno dicto exierunt in montem Oliveti

        Hymnus , i, m., = humnos, I. a song of praise, a hymn: “hymnus cantus [cantillate] est cum laude Dei,” Aug. Enarr. in Psa. 148, 17; Ambros. Expos. Psa. 118, prol. § 3; Lucil. ap. Non. 330, 9; Prud. Cath. 37 praef.; 4, 75: “divinorum scriptor hymnorum“,” Lact. 4, 8, 14; Vulg. Psa. 60 tit.; id. Matt. 26, 30.

        To hymn or laud someone we normally speak and tell something about that person. We wouldn’t sing silly praise ditties:

        Dīco, to say, tell, mention, relate, affirm, declare, state; to mean, intend (for syn. cf.: for, loquor stands for the Gr. eipein pros tina,

        It can mean “sing” but most often to “describe, relate, celebrate in writing” to laud

        Laudo, I. to praise, laud, commend, extol, eulogize, approve
        1. To pronounce a funeral oration over a person:
        3. To praise, compliment, to adduce, name, quote, cite a person as any thing: sermo

        In Greek:

        Humn-eō , Ep. humneiō Hes.Op.2; Ep.3pl.
        II. tell over and over again, harp upon, repeat, recite,
        ton nomon humnein recite [erō say] the form of the law, Id.Lg.871a:

        Phēmē I. utterance prompted by the gods, significant or prophetic saying, II. any voice or words, speech, saying, logōn ph. poet. periphr. for logoi, S.Ph.846 (lyr.

        Logos, verbal noun of lego
        ……Opposite kata pathos
        ……Opposite music, poetry or rhetoric
        ……Opposite human reasoning
        ……Opposite Epagoge bringint in to one’s aid, introduction
        …… ……Alurement, enticement, incantation, spell
        ….. Pathos A. that which happens to a person or thing, incident, accident,
        where this incident took place, unfortunate accident,

        I can point you to recorded history showing where singing hymns was first introduced as an ACT and that was the wedge that split the Eastern from the Western churches.

        Because the direct command is to “use that which is written for our learning” and none of that is metrical, you cannot sing in a tuneful sense and obey the direct commands, examples and early church history before Calvin allowed some Psalms (only) to be set to meter by radically rewriting and sung in unison (only).

        People who hate CENI always seem to impose their OWN which costs more and requires more WORK and sucks up all of the “attention” (that worship word) from Jesus.

        But, since the kingdom is not “observable” nor brought near by religious observations, I don’t think you will find one as time gets shorter. “Shall He find faith when He Returns?”
        Rhetorical meaning “No, almost none.”

      • mattdabbs says:

        So you are saying that the church today needs to mirror synagogue practices and that alone? Anything outside of the 1st century synagogue practices are off limits today when congregations assemble? You do know that 1st century Jews sang together, right? You do know that they viewed that as worship pleasing to God. But, in your view, because singing wasn’t done in the synagogue we should not include it when we assemble?

        “I can point you to recorded history showing where singing hymns was first introduced as an ACT and that was the wedge that split the Eastern from the Western churches.”

        But that totally ignores the point that people did sing as worship to God in the OT and the NT prior to this. Acts 16:25 is one example. Were they just speaking hymns to each other and everyone was listening to them speak through the words of a song? This was not some invention that came centuries later to drive people apart…Paul and Silas even did this but somehow it is a western invention to divide the church?

        You are reading history and your biases back into these texts rather than letting them speak for themselves. I cannot believe that Paul would read all the convolution in your above posts and say, “Yes! Someone finally gets it!” I don’t mean to be rude when I say that. I say that humbly because I am sure Paul would correct me on about a thousand points I have made on my blog that missed the mark as well. The whole point of interpretation is to get back to what the original author meant. The Bible is supposed to make things clearer but your posts make things more confusing and I just don’t see how anyone was supposed to come to the conclusions you are coming to. I am not saying you are wrong on all fronts. I continue to read what you have to say, listen and learn what I can. But on the whole it is all very confusing.

      • Ken Sublett says:

        So you are saying that the church today needs to mirror synagogue practices and that alone? Anything outside of the 1st century synagogue practices are off limits today when congregations assemble?

        The synagogue was A School of Christ and Worship was Reading and Musing the Word of God: the Campbells RESTORED that exact pattern which was upsed quickly. Why would you WANT to make church into “a theater for holy entertainment if you are a Christian condemned to be persecuted and reproached as “pilgrims” in this world FOR WHICH Jesus said He would not even pray.

        If church is A SCHOOL OF CHRIST and He supplied all that applies to life and godliness, then nothing in “culture” can happen which upsets the role as defined by Christ (Teach that which I have commanded to be taught–to the end of the world.) . Christianity is defined by the record of the Prophets and Apostles. Anything which does not contribute to teaching that which is written is off limits if you claim a wage as a “Bible teacher or preacher.” The “houses” where the people worshipped God was PLURAL and was the synagogue.

        Jeus confirmed the Synagogue and Paul used “synagogue” words to define the assembly where they ‘used one mind and one mouth to speak that which is written for our learning.”

        You do know that 1st century Jews sang together, right? You do know that they viewed that as worship pleasing to God. But, in your view, because singing wasn’t done in the synagogue we should not include it when we assemble?

        I don’t know of any evidence that the Jews sang together! The godly Jews were quarantined from the COURTS during animal slaughter which God did not command.” They screamed, screeched and howled and the instruments made NOISE which was called exorcism.
        The synangogue was A School of the Word: Jesus affirmed it, practiced it and commanded it with the word Ekklesia.

        “I can point you to recorded history showing where singing hymns was first introduced as an ACT and that was the wedge that split the Eastern from the Western churches.”

        But that totally ignores the point that people did sing as worship to God in the OT and the NT prior to this. Acts 16:25 is one example.

        No, they did not: the PRAISE word, halal, is derived fro “lucifer” and means “to make yourself mad or vile.” God abandoned them to anything concerning the Monarchy which Christ in the prophets writing about the temple as the “Lying pen of the Scribes.” God does NOT command that to which He ABANDONS you to the sentence imposed because of musical idolatry of the Egyptian (etal) Trinity.

        The Levites were cursed by Jacob and were employed by Moses as EXECUTIONERS of their brethren who engaged in PLAY: that was singing, playing instruments and that in turn led them to play with one another: Read Romans 1

        “Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. ”

        They prayed and HYMNED “to be celebrated in hymns, gods” 2. descant upon, in song or speech, II. tell over and over again, harp upon, repeat, recite, ton nomon humnein recite the form of the law

        In the Case of Jesus they SPOKE a hymn OF God and went out. Since melody as “tunefulness belongs to the 19th century” and none of the Bible is metrical you cannot sing that which is commanded if your life depended on it. Rewriting the Psalms into METER proves that there was NO SINGING until post-Reformation. The Chanter or Precentor CHANTED the psalms or other material: the Reformation brought about “congregational singing.”

        There is a difference between JAIL and the Ekklesia/Synagogue which has the commanded role to TEACH THAT WHICH IS WRITTEN FOR OUR LEARNING. If you get tossed in jail you can do anything you wish without destroying that set-time-place dedicted to the Words of Christ. Jesus “synagogued” with the people two first days in a row and they did not sing. The criminals LISTENED. Could you not tarry with Him for one hour?

        “Acts 16:40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.”

        Were they just speaking hymns to each other and everyone was listening to them speak through the words of a song?

        Yes. The Latin of Jesus and the disciples:

        Dīco, to say, tell, mention, relate, affirm, declare, state; to mean, intend (for syn. cf.: for, loquor stands for the Gr. eipein pros tina, [address, tell or proclaim so of one, order or command one to, used in addressing several persons,

        Laudo, I. to praise, laud, commend, extol, eulogize, approve
        1. To pronounce a funeral oration over a person:
        3. To praise, compliment, i. e. dismiss with a compliment, leave,
        to adduce, name, quote, cite a person as any thing: sermo

        This was not some invention that came centuries later to drive people apart…Paul and Silas even did this but somehow it is a western invention to divide the church?

        Paul and silas were not performing ACTS: since the criminals did not RECITE THE HYMN OF GOD, this might justify a “choir” which along with instruments is the only divisive thing introduced about the music thingy

        You are reading history and your biases back into these texts rather than letting them speak for themselves. I cannot believe that Paul would read all the convolution in your above posts and say, “Yes! Someone finally gets it!” I don’t mean to be rude when I say that. I say that humbly because I am sure Paul would correct me on about a thousand points I have made on my blog that missed the mark as well. The whole point of interpretation is to get back to what the original author meant. The Bible is supposed to make things clearer but your posts make things more confusing and I just don’t see how anyone was supposed to come to the conclusions you are coming to. I am not saying you are wrong on all fronts. I continue to read what you have to say, listen and learn what I can. But on the whole it is all very confusing.

        In fact if you define words of Paul he ALWAYS EXCLUDES any of the hypocritic arts to ENABLE the ekklesia/synagogue which was to READ and DISCUSS the Word of Christ in the Prophets and Apostles.

        http://www.piney.com/Ephesians.4.Unity.in.Diversity.html

        Sorry about that but there is no one prior to the Disciples and other denominations post-Civil war that disagrees with me.

        The command to “use ONE mind and ONE mouth to speak that which is written for our learning” which the same Paul calls “Scripture.”

        The Qahal commanded by Christ (the Rock) for the Church of Christ QUARANTINED the godly people who had not been abandoned to worship the starry host (Acts 7 etc.,etc.):

        INCLUSIVE of REST, Reading and rehearsing the Word of God as it was handed down from God by Moses.
        EXCLUSIVE of “vocal or instrumental rejoicing” including an elevated form of speaking.

        Christ identified the hypocrites (Jesus labelled the Scribes and Pharisees) in Ezekiel 33 as the same speakers, singers and instrument players which was HIS identifying mark that people who massed had no intention of obeying the Word.

        There is NO singing with or without instruments in the Bible or recorded history prior to Constantine in the 4thcenturies. In the O.T. CONGREGATION was the Civil-Military-Clergy complex and the Levites made a great noise to warn any unauthorized person that they would be EXECUTED (that which Moses commanded). No Levite singer or instrument player could go INTO the Holy (church) or Most Holy (our spirit) without getting executed by the Levite “brethren.” None. None. None.

        Romans 14 Paul outlawed “doubtful disputions” which derive from human imagination which do not edify which in the context of Romans 15 means EDUCATE. The word PLEASE in Romans 15 “Areskos” or “Placeo” which is used in the Greek and Latin text specificially to exclude any of the scenic, rhetoric or performing roles.

        Many (most) are called but few (almost none) are chosen which means tested and proven by obedience the way Jesus was test, proven and murdered. That’s the only unity involved in John 17: we obey Jesus the way He obeyed God the Father. You can use the “law of silence” to IMPOSE at your own risk.

  3. Bob Bliss says:

    Matt, Hotel Rawanda is a great movie. Don Cheadle is one of my favorite actors. There is a similar theme in an old Star Trek episode where the Enterprise crew meets these two warring fellows whose faces are black and white. Kirk can’t understand why they are so prejudice against each other. Turns out one has a face with the black on the left side of his face and the other the black on the right side of his face. This was back in the 60s of course. I immediately thought of this Star Trek episode when Joaquin turns to the two ladies next to him only to find out one was Hutu and the other Tutsie and then says they could be twins. Great line! Interesting clip to chose for an illustration on division. Shows how division can not only be silly but deadly as well.

    I agree with Keith that the problem is “self” but I think there is different reason. I think we like stability/certainty. Once that stability/certainty is established when anyone else comes that acts or teaches differently then our stability/certainty if threatened. For instance, when an eldership or the preacher want to do something different on Sunday nights. Suddenly people in the congregation present Scriptural arguments in favor of Sunday evening worship and suggest that that not having it is unbiblical. It’s not that they want to be right but rather their stability is being taken away.

    Even though I know that trying to prevent division is the biblical way, I doubt seriously that we will ever solve the problem. Even the great missionary team of Paul and Barnabas split up because they couldn’t agree on John Mark!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: