Healing Divisions in the Church

Paul was concerned deeply about unity in his little chain of ekklesia gatherings. I think many of his “rules” were written with the deep knowledge of human interactions that would cause divisions, drifting, jealousy, and the like.

I’m finishing N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God where he expounds at length on the subject of unity.

Recently I was with a small group of people who had perpetuated and instigated divisiveness in their organization.

I open up scripture and read from the first two chapters of 1 Corinthians.

If you are not familiar with that section, I urge you to read it for yourself. This is one place where Paul really expresses his human disappointment at people who spread divisiveness.

I meet with a group of men on Tuesday mornings. With around 14 of us, we may have 15 different theologies (OK, that’s a joke, probably only 3 or 4). We do all agree on certain fundamentals–especially the resurrection of Jesus. That is the core gospel. And with it, the coming of the spirit to feed us and guide us. And we can work through some diversity of opinion without losing our heads and dividing the group in hatred and bad feelings.

That’s the core of Paul’s message. We are all to come together in great diversity (for Paul to go to the lengths to describe it as much as he does, you just have to know it was revolutionary). Male and female; Jew and Gentile; free and slave. All are one in Jesus the Messiah.

He had so much trouble in his small groups, I wonder what he would think today about trying to achieve unity among millions of Christ followers.

He’d probably just get on his jet and try to visit everyone and preach the gospel. And write more letters. I imagine that he would be strongly emotional in the letters today. What do you think?

Note: I wrote on this topic a few days ago. Obviously dear to my heart right now is the achievement of unity through diversity.

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