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Divisions and Obstacles

April 12, 2012

Greetings,

“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.  Keep away from them.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.  By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.  Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.  Romans 16: 17-20

Pretty straightforward warning from Paul there.  Divisions and obstacles need to be avoided or they can shipwreck our faith in a hurry.  Sure there are other divisions, but the biggest division that I see in the body of Christ is that between Clergy and laity or Leaders and followers.  It is an obstacle and division because it creates the myth that some Christians are leaders and others can’t lead.  This division stifles the body by denying every member ministry and instead elevating a select few over the rest of the congregation.  Then instead of the body being living and active, it becomes passive.  The church should never be about a few participants and many spectators.  No EVERYONE is supposed to be a vibrant participant with much to share with the rest of the body.  When the church is allowing and empowering every member to be Spiritual givers and not mere takers….She shines!

Who is misleading the church these days?  Most denominations (The very word denomination means division) uphold the Clergy/Laity division and the notion that some Christians are special and to be revered over and above other Christians.  Sure most denominations give lip service to the Priesthood of all Believers, but the problem is they don’t make it their practice in everyday life.  Other than that it is impossible to turn on the television and find a TV preacher that doesn’t line their own pockets with cash manipulated away from the innocent.  Just recently The Trinity Broadcasting Network, the largest “christian” network, has come under fire because the founders very own grand daughter has come forward to say that they have misappropriated MILLIONS of dollars from the ministry to feed the founders appetite for more cars, jet airplanes, mansions and mammon in general.  Aside from the money problem much of the theology of most TV preachers is just whacked.  The whole prosperity doctrine and Seed Faith movement is just so very wrong.  I believe in prayer and healing, but not the kind that apparently says God can be manipulated with money.

The whole being wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil is just excellent.  The best way to be innocent about anything is to not even be exposed to it in the first place.  When they train U.S. Treasury agents, the agents only work with real money.  They get to know real money so well, that when they come across counterfeit bills later they almost automatically know them to be fake.  It seems that God wants the very same from us where it comes to good and evil.  It is all about knowing the good so well that when we come across evil we will know it right away.  BIG EVIL is easy to spot.  It is the little evil things that tend to trip us up.

I really like the last verses in this passage.  It is great to know that God will soon crush Satan and somehow it will be with peace and right under our very own feet.  To me this means to hold on because it won’t be long until God helps you through any situation that you can imagine.  Because the Grace of Jesus is with us.

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

 
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3 Comments
  1. No question, God is no fan of the clergy-laity distinction, not at all. But the division that Paul speaks about in 1 Corinthians 1 is where I think Paul is going here in Romans 16…the division between those who follow Paul, those who follow Apollos and those who follow Jesus….the division between Lutherans, Methodists and Baptists…and the division between believers who are involved with a denomination, and those who consider themselves above that. ANY percieved division between believers is crushing to God’s heart, as Jesus prayed in John 17.

  2. “Most denominations (The very word denomination means division) uphold the Clergy/Laity division and the notion that some Christians are special and to be revered over and above other Christians.”

    I don’t know if that’s really at the heart of division, though- I understand HOW denominations can divide, sure, but the word really means more of a designated category- and how that applies to different Church groups is usually based upon areas that they emphasize or de-emphasize. IOW, people don’t :denominate” in order to divide, they denominate (generally, of course) because of strongly-held convictions.

    For example- we started Trinity after much prayer and discussion, and our decision to leave our former Church was indeed based on quite a few convictions that we held (“youth ministry” vs. godly parenting and all ages playing a part in the body, reverent worship vs. performance mentality, confessional standards vs. free-for-all, reformed soteriology vs. a free-will decisionally-based gospel, etc…), yet by God’s grace we left that group with blessing and no ill-feelings at all.

    A Church who pays a full-time elder (or two or three…) is not automatically guilty of committing the “clergy/laity” error, and I can’t imagine revering any one in the body “higher” than another, although I will admit my scope isn’t what it used to be, modern evangelicalism-wise…

  3. “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not according to their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost places at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But you be not called Rabbi: for one is your Teacher, even Christ; and ALL YOU ARE BROTHERS. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, who is in heaven. Neither be you called masters: for ONE is your Teacher, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
    (Mat 23:2-12)

    It was so easy for me to understand what Jesus said here… once I put benind me any hope or desire to be paid for the gift of Christ in me or even being recognized as being a “somebody” in the church.

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