Joh_17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
I thought it might be good to share my response to a Facebook post by Cris Jackson, where she has written:
Why is there so much division in the body of Christ? In this world people need two things Christ and love! I will never understand why there are cliques in the body of Christ, they wont let certain people in, that’s not Christ like. In (John 15:19) It says the world takes care of its own, we should do the same as Christians. We are held to a higher standard. How will we ever win souls to Christ without love and respect? We don’t know what people have been through or endured! We owe it to all to respect and love, never disrespect anyone! It does not mean we have to compromise who we are in Christ, or accept a
persons sins. We are to love and challenge them to come higher, speaking the truth in love. That person out there sleeping around, that person out there on drugs, that thief, liar, cheat, that person taking their clothes off for a living, they need love! Remember what Jesus told the thief on the cross, after he repented? (Luke 23:43) And Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise.” It’s God’s grace we’re not still out there! If you read up on Meerkats, if they are kicked out of their clan they die from lack of love. What do you think is happening to humans? (John 15:12) “This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
Lets Be Apart Of The Solution Not The Problem~
Some of the division stems from doctrinal disagreements. Most of those would be resolved if all parties would come to the Bible as their source of authority and interpret it according to the rules of interpretation I posted in the October 2010 archives at Real Bible Study.
Some division stems from what you address, social cliques in the church. It is fine to have groups of friends with whom we more closely associate, but it becomes wrong when we fail to welcome and fully admit into our fellowship newcomers to our church. Part of the problem underlying that failure is sociological. Some churches have been identified as “village churches.” These are characterized by the fact that only those who were born into the congregation nine months before delivery are welcome. Newcomers are shunned, and never admitted into the inner circle. The other kind of church has been called the “camp church.” These churches are comprised of individuals who are there for spiritual reasons, who are eager to grow spiritually, and who are there for genuinely Christian fellowship, who love to study the Bible and dig deeper into its truths.
A central verse that directly relates to this issue is Romans 15:7,
Rom 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
Failure to receive one another is a very, very serious matter. I have written a full exposition of the cross references given for Romans 15:7 at my website. You can find it easily by accessing the next to last category displayed at the right, under “Verse-by-Verse Studies.”
Too many of our churches are not structured for fellowship. Sitting in a pew seeing only the backs of the heads of those in front of us on Sunday morning is not Christian fellowship. Actual fellowship probably does not take place in any group larger than ten or so persons. These things must be addressed in the light of what the Bible teaches. We have become so bound by our unwritten traditions that we have lost sight of what the Gospel is all about.
Every Christian, not just the Pastor, is to share the Gospel with others in their circle of contacts and influence as the Lord makes this possible. This sharing takes place outside of church, not just in church. I saw in a most recent Barna study that the majority of professing Christians do not seem to grasp the truth that they are responsible to reach others with the Gospel.
A major and unmentionable problem, if not an actually forbidden topic in the church, is that we ourselves may sometimes be mistaken in our understanding of the Bible, but because we believe what we have always been taught, we may actually be wrong! We need to be open to what the Bible itself actually teaches, and be willing to be humble enough to recognize when we have been mistaken, and be willing to correct our thinking based upon newly learned but well documented truth newly learned from the Bible that contradicts what we thought we understood!