I’ve decided to make a mess today. And for all you mothers who read this blog, I don’t plan on cleaning it up, so you may want to just click on the link tab at the top to find another blog to read for today . . .
Division. Division can be, well, divisive. Nuff said.
Division should not characterize the church. Aren’t we the body of Christ? But before Paul warms up to that oft-repeated metaphor, he actually says that there must be division in the church. I’m not making this up.
1 Corinthians 11:19 “For there must in fact be divisions among you, so that those of you who are approved may be evident.” (NET Bible)
Stepping away from the warm, fuzzy utopian dream of the church we often entertain, let’s begin by facing the fact that there are lots of disagreements, divisions, and arguments that arise in every church. My questions are the following: When is division permissible? How far should the church go to preserve the unity of the body of believers? Can there be simultaneous division and unity?
Matters are only made worse when we consider that there may be degrees of division, just as there may be degrees of complexity to each disagreement that arises in the church.
Should we hand people over to Satan as Paul says earlier in the Corinthian letter? Should we hold a disciplinary meeting? Paul doesn’t give instructions regarding how far we should take this.
I personally am willing to emphasize agreements over differences, but when a member of a church starts advocating a doctrine or practicing something at odds with the teachings of scripture, we are faced with a tough decision regarding our course of action.
If anything, Paul’s statement makes it clear that the church should be as dependent on the leading of the Holy Spirit (See the Gospel of John, chapter 17). This is one mess we can’t clean up on our own.