the weblog of Alan Knox

Comment Highlight: More divisions are not the answer

Posted by on Oct 5, 2011 in comment highlights, unity | 6 comments

Comment Highlight: More divisions are not the answer

Once again I find myself highlighting a comment by my good friend Art. But, what can I do? His comments always challenge and encourage me so much!

In this comment Art is responding to another comment. But, you can click on the link to read back to the previous comment, but it’s not necessary to understand what Art is saying.

And, I believe, Art is saying something that all followers of Jesus Christ need to consider… carefully.

Here is his comment:


Suppose we agreed that “The Whole Religious System” was corrupted.

Aren’t these saints (willingly or blindly entangled) still our brothers and sisters? Aren’t we still members of one another? Is it possible we can just walk away and wash our hands of the whole mess?

While I can’t see my way to simply continue attending, pretty much anything short of that I’ve tried has ended up with either being asked to leave a lot of churches in 40 years, or, when not asked, getting to where I just couldn’t stomach it anymore. I consider these experiences largely evidence of my own immaturity.

These are my brothers and sisters in my city, the local church to which I belong and cannot escape. Most of them meet in the oddly shaped buildings and even more distorted organizational structures every Sunday. I can’t see any option to simply walk away.

Honestly, walking away from existing religious systems is what every group did that started a new division, beginning as a “non-denominational, perfected way of being the church together” and quickly becoming just one more distorted mess and one additional level of division. Name a denomination. Their “distinctives” or “heritage” or “restoration” was their departure point from any number of brothers and sisters.

For awhile, I satisfied my points of departure with most of my local brothers and sisters by functioning among the Plymouth Brethren. More participative, elder led (well, in truth, elder ruled, but when you’re an elder you can overlook that), plus they have near perfect doctrine (ahem, as I see it). Some find their recourse by signing on with some other denomination that fits their understandings better. Many are doing so today via the house church (now called simple or organic), the soon-to-be new denominations with about the same level of differences as there are between the 26 “baptist” denominations, etc.

More divisions. These are not the answers. With divisions, there is always an ache for my whole family and despair over His fallen glory (Jn 17) that remains, of which yet-more divisions of any sort make the pain worse, not better.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 10-5-2011

    But what then is the answer? This seems like a good question to me.

  2. 10-5-2011


    Love one another? Maybe rather than dividing further, we work towards mending existing breaches.

    One path forward along these lines was posted recently by Alan:

  3. 10-5-2011


    It can help to get clear by restating the question. What is the question (problem)?

  4. 10-5-2011


    Excellent words from Art!

    I would need to ask of a group claiming to be a part of Body of Christ, the question: Which is most important in the situation, what Jesus taught, or what I think?

    Indeed,I did ask this question once. The response was overwhelmingly the former, but one woman stood up, yelling at the top of her voice,”The constitution has to be adhered to!” She represents those for whom Art said,”Their “distinctives” or “heritage” or “restoration” was their departure point from any number of brothers and sisters”. She remained a strong voice in that church, overwhelming the voice of the church (very quiet, mind-my-own-business, country people). That church is now ceased to exist.

    “I consider these experiences largely evidence of my own immaturity.” That is the beginning of recognizing the whole problem (for us all), which sends us back to recognize that it is NOT about what I think, or what the constitution says, or a denominational position, but what the Lord of His church says.

    It’s about the whole group getting back to basics and understanding that Paul wasn’t alluding to CEO’s, MC’s or Head Honchos when he referred to those whose responsibility is, “…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God,to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

    Sadly,my own experience (awakening late) has been being trained by pastors and professors, who interpreted Paul’s words as,”…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, building them up in our particular doctrinal stance, until we know our constitution well,carried about by the only wind of doctrine, taught by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

  5. 10-5-2011

    I don’t think of the organic church or the house church as a move away from the “local” church but as rather a move, by some, toward those who have not yet been introduced to Jesus and His saving work on their behalf. My local church has recognized that many from our community will not come into the doors of our church building for any reason. As a result we are being very intentional about leaving the walls and seeking those who have questions, serving in our communities as anonymous witnesses of Jesus to a world in need. You cannot do this by talking about the lost… Most are unaware of their need. When we are able to introduce someone to Jesus and they accept what He has done for them and repent of their sin – then we begin the process of “together-walking” with them as day by day we together all grow to maturity into the likeness of Christ. This is done by truly loving our neighbor and yes even our enemies. Leaving the walls and comfortable rituals of religion behind and taking a living Gospel to the streets in genteelness and with great respect. In this way we can build the relationships that create trust, friendship and finally lead to new disciples of Jesus. WE must risk our religious understandings and fling ourselves headlong into the Gospel in order that it have its full effect in us and in the world around us until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in. We must never think more highly or ourselves than we ought. Jesus paid the price for all sinners you, me, and the many who have not yet heard the good news. It must be our joy to herald His soon return until He comes on the clouds in the eastern sky!

  6. 10-5-2011

    In my opinion, the best comment ever made on your blog (I’ve only been reading off and on for about a month and a half though). Still, Art, I do not know you, but great word brother!