Thursday, January 11, 2007

Conflict Among Brethren

Jesus prayed that his followers would be unified!

John17: 17. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
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.
22. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Paul taught that we should be unified!

1Cor. 1: 9. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
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.
11. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
23. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24. But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

1Cor.2: 1. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
4. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power:
5. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

1Cor.3: 1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

CONFLICT within the ranks of Christian believers, especially within the ranks of the leading elders, is not a spiritually desirable situation. It is embarrassingly shameful, and contrary to the Spirit and Word of God!

The disunity among Christians is reason enough for unbelievers to avoid those who would try to witness the love of God tho them.

What "standards" or exclusionary doctrines that we teach are valid to dismiss our brethren that Jesus died for? We may not all agree on all points, but does that make those who disagree with us lost? a few examples...

Ministers of the same fellowships have a running gentlemen’s' feud over their prophetic understanding. Or not so gentlemanly, calling names, and trying to line up constituencies defending their own turf. It can seem as though we may be sometimes defending our own turf, our own kingdom, rather than the kingdom of God. This does not always result in officially breaking fellowship, but the unyielding competitiveness of ideas effectively displays a disunity, or broken fellowship, in fact, if not in confession. Dispensationalists and preterists must learn to love their brethren with whom they disagree.

Can any divorced believer remarry and be saved? Can their new spouse? Not if you listen to some ministers/fellowships. Is divorce and remarriage the unforgivable sin? Nobody says they believe that, until they preach on it! According to Questions Pentecostals Ask, vol.1, David Grey writes regarding that question that in agreement with the UPCI handbook, once the marriage is broken by sin, the new marriage is valid in the eyes of Jesus. It was sin that broke the first, but it is a sin that may be covered by the blood. The new marriage is recognized by God as the valid marriage now. UPCI ministers aren't all teaching this doctrine, causing some sinners to be without an altar to repent at. The UPCI is not alone in this tragedy.

Hair length:
There is much controversy over the teaching of 1 Cor.11:1-16, whether holiness teachers believe that or not. Many are of the understanding that Paul was addressing a specific problem facing that church at that time concerning the pagan worship of Dionysus/Bacchus where the pagan worshippers would cross-dress, men wearing long hair (and female attire/jewelry/make-up), women cutting their hair short (to appear mannish, wearing men's attire) in the worship of a pagan God. They believe Paul was teaching them not to be identified with those pagans. Each side is sincere, acting in faith on what they feel is honest and accurate. Should either side act as though the other set is "lost" or "backslidden

Women in pants?
“Holiness” churches teach that their women can’t wear pants, or shorts, or even sometimes culottes. Many have the understanding that females in ladies slacks, or in pants purchased in the ladies department are not apparel that pertains to a man. If a man would be seen in many of these ladies apparel, they would be accused of wearing ladies clothing, so how could it also be men's clothing? It isn’t that there is anything inherently wrong with holding a standard for congregations to stay within, but to teach that all who stray outside these particular standards are “going to hell” forges self righteousness among the congregants.

It is almost silly to go there, but we all probably know several or many who belong to "no TV" groups who have TVs, making their saints hypocrites. Movies also belong in this category. Radios are not permitted to our Old German Baptist brethren, and others…
It would seem that we can specialize in creating sin where no sin exists, until we preach condemnation where none should exist. I have heard it taught/preached that women can't wear open toed shoes. I've also been taught that men can't have beards or mustaches, play with playing cards that may be used to play poker, or any game utilizing dice! Some preach against going to amusement parks. Some congregations wear wedding bands, some make visiting preachers remove them before they can approach the pulpit.

It is enough to make one wonder if the church understands true holiness at all!


What are the scriptural grounds for resorting to the breaking fellowship with another believer? Prophetic understanding? Dress standards? Terminology? Differences of opinion? Divorce?

1Cor.5: 9. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10. Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
12. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13. But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

1Cor.6:9. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Col. 2: 8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

The context of this verse is discussing the godhead, but its usefulness for this current dilemma, can't be overstated. We must stop philosophizing holiness and perpetuating the traditions of men!

Acts 15: 28. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
29. That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

1Cor 6: 12. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

1Cor 10:23. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

Romans 13: 8. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 14: 1. Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
2. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
4. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
5. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
7. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
8. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
13. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
14. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
22. Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
23. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

The Revival we all want will not come to us until we stop failing to discern the body of Christ. We are held back by our self righteous, carnal pride. We must stop seeing those that understand things differently as our enemy, or worse, the enemy of Christ! Until we can drop our guard, lower our defenses and truly dialogue with one another, using only the word of God as our guide, we are doomed to be less than we are called to be.

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