This is the ninth post in a chain blog on “Dealing with Traditionally Divisive Issues” that I started last week. (See my post “Chain Blog: Dealing with Divisive Issues Introduction.”) At the bottom of this post, you’ll find links to the other link posts in the chain blog. If you haven’t read them yet, you should, because they are all very good and they all approach the topic from a different perspective.
The church is divided. (Obvious statement of the century.) Many Christians are divisive – separating from other brothers and sisters in Christ for insignificant reasons – well, insignificant to everyone else.
These statements, as I said, are obvious – to almost everyone. Divisiveness among the church is so prevalent that many people come up with “theological” reasons to justify their divisiveness – reasons that sound very, well, reasonable.
But, let’s be honest. When we read Scripture, we find that there are legitimate reasons to separate from others who claim to be brothers and sisters in Christ. Perhaps, as we think about dealing with traditionally divisive issues, it would be good to think about these reasons to separate in Scripture.
What are those reasons?
- Unrepentant Sin (Matt 18:15-20; 1 Cor 5:1-5)
- Disorderliness (2 Thess 3:6)
- Refusal to Work (2 Thess 3:7-10)
- False Teaching (2 Thess 3:14-15; 1 Tim 1:20; 2 John 10-11)
- Divisiveness (Rom 16:17-18; Titus 3:10-11)
First, did you notice that last item? That’s right, “divisiveness” is a reason to separate from other Christians. If someone claims to be a child of God but divides from other Christians for invalid reasons, then we are to stay away from that person. Interesting, huh?
Of course, most people would agree that we should separate from those who claim to be Christians who fall into one of the categories above (well, except for #3 and #5, and sometimes we even reward them).
So, how do we approach these issues? How do we understand them? Is separation automatic even in the cases listed above? If not, why not?
What about false teaching? Is “false teaching” any teaching that I or my church, leaders, denomination, etc. disagree with? If not, then what is “false teaching”?
Where do we go from here?
Chain blog rules:
1) If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.
2) Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual “chain”. Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog.
3) When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of the previous post to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.
“Links” in this chain blog:
1. “Chain Blog: Dealing with Divisive Issues Introduction” by Alan
2. “Chain Blog: Dealing with divisive issues starts with love” by Arthur
3. “I am divisive” by Jeremy
4. “Chain Blog: Please agree with me” by Jon
5. “Division and our shared humanity” by Andy
6. “Chain Blog: solving the problem” by Bobby
7. “Divisiveness: Acts 2 & Ugly Carpet” by fallenpastor
8. “Stimulating our Collective Memory” by Trista
9. “No, we can’t just get along” by Alan
10. “Who says we are divided?” by Jon
11. “Disunity and the mind of Christ” by Fred
12. “We Are United in Our Division” by Andy
13. “Finding Equilibrium: ‘rest in one another’” by Sherry
14. “Don’t talk about my momma” by JRo
15. Who will write the next “link” post in the chain?