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Those who have read my blogs know that one theme which appears from time to time is disunity in the Church. I personally cannot see denominationalism and the associated lack of cohesiveness going away until Jesus Christ comes back, but I can see the potential for improvement in individual churches and among other, smaller groups of Christians. Because we are human, it is inevitable that sometimes we will have disagreements and misunderstandings. When that occurs, what has happened needs to be straightened out—in love—as soon as possible (Matthew 5:23-24; Ephesians 4:26-27).


That way, healthy fellowship and love are maintained, bitterness and vengefulness cannot take root, and the door to division is slammed shut in the devil’s face. When a team, family, or other group of people have strife among themselves, sometimes it is called infighting. Where there should be mutual cooperation, comradery, and respect, there are found conflict, attack, and power struggles. When it happens among believers, be it a small group, a church, or what have you, since we are all members of the body of Christ, such conflict is also, among other things, infighting.


Have you ever taken the time to look at comments posted on Facebook in various Christian groups there? Have you ever posted such a comment yourself? If you have done either, then you know what happens. Usually an online conflict or even a “cybermelee” ensues. It is not enough to stop with such accusations as “you’re being judgmental,” “you’re a hypocrite,” or “that was so wrong.” These sanctified keyboard warriors break out the big guns: “You’re an apostate.” “You are a liar straight from hell.” “Blasphemer!” “You’re gonna bust hell wide open!” “You’re a false teacher.” “You’re a false prophet.” And so on. You get the idea. I learned a long time ago not to comment at all on such posts unless I truly feel compelled by God to do so. No need to unnecessarily tangle with these knights in shining Microsoft. One other sad byproduct of such haste to quarrel is that when it is time to call someone or some ministry out for false teaching or other issues, it looks more like one more part of the argument than it does a needed rebuke. Cyberspace often seems to bring out the worst in people, saved and lost alike.


Things are not much better in person. Now, I have had the pleasure and the privilege of being with other believers where there were found genuine fellowship, harmony, and the love of God. But then there were a lot of other situations where there was more disorder than harmonious flow. We bewail how so many people today do not know how to agree to disagree, yet many of us as Christians are guilty of the same thing. One disagreement on a non-salvation issue can be enough to end a friendship. Disagreements also fuel church splits and even the formation of new denominations or branches of Christianity. One notable split occurred in the year 1054 in the Catholic Church, which led to the formation of the Orthodox Church. Occasionally a split is necessary, as in the Protestant Reformation due to the severe corruption and the major doctrinal errors in the Roman Catholic Church of the early 1500’s, but usually these splits are not warranted.


Some examples of conflicts today among Christians include whether or not one’s salvation can be forfeited; whether or not water baptism saves; whether or not all of the spiritual gifts still operate today; should one baptize in the name of Jesus or in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; can women wear pants; whether or not music should be played in the church; and if baptism can be done by immersion, by sprinkling, or both. There are a lot more situations besides these. Although these issues are not unimportant, neither are they worth splitting over, yet in many such matters believers are no better at agreeing to disagree than other people. As an example from my own life, I cannot bring myself to attend a church where they teach that water baptism is a necessary ingredient in salvation, but that does not mean I cannot even speak to someone who feels that way, though I would certainly work to give such a person the way to see for themselves that this teaching is not correct. Still, people even in the body of Christ argue and go their separate ways instead of working to build a bridge of unity.


Unity does not mean the acceptance of unbiblical beliefs.


I and other Christians like me who hold to the fundamental truths of the Bible cannot accept alternative lifestyles and marriages, abortion, CRT (Critical Race Theory), beliefs that the Bible is not fully reliable, beliefs that there is more than one way to salvation and therefore heaven, the theory of evolution, noncanonical “Bible” books (except as study and information resources), salvation by works, papal infallibility, and other such concepts, theologies, and ideologies which go against what we know the Bible teaches. Persons like me will call out errant teachings often and errant ministries as warranted and led, but even then we hold out hope for their awakening to Biblical truths and their repentance from error. So you see, even when disagreement is necessary, the love of God should be mixed in. We should pray for the erring to see the truths in the Bible and for the Lord not to allow us to be deceived. If the opportunity is there to show why a particular belief is false, we should do so in love and with plenty of Scriptural support, knowing that even after all this, the erring person might not repent.


The way we use our words makes a big difference. We can build up or destroy others with our words. The Bible has a lot to say about the power of the tongue and the words that flow from it. Here is a representative sample of such verses:


Proverbs 18:21:  Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.


Ecclesiastes 10:20:  Do not curse the king, even in your thought; do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; for a bird of the air may carry your voice, and a bird in flight may tell the matter.


Matthew 12:33-37:  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”


Colossians 4:6:  Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.


James 1:26, 3:2-10:  If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless…For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It isan unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.


What we say applies, of course, to our writing as well as to our speaking. You can see, and should know, that the reservoir of our words, be they good or bad, is the heart. Like a well contaminated by the remains of a dead animal, so a heart polluted with worldly filth will show itself in words that are profane, dishonest, and mean-spirited. You don’t have to be a “worldly” Christian to have these issues, either. Suppose you are religious, like in the first verse of that passage from James.


You read the Bible daily, you pray, you faithfully attend church, you have done away with worldly entertainment, and so forth. Sounds good, right? But what if you have a bad attitude towards someone or even towards other Christians who do not believe exactly like you do? What happens then? In such a case, your heart will be just as contaminated as it would have been if you had watched porn or read a horror novel, and it will show when you lambaste these people rather than letting your speech be with grace, seasoned with salt. You will rip them to pieces on social media and say vicious, slanderous, hurtful words to them in person. Such religion is worthless!


Regardless of whether you are a “religious” Christian or not, sinful attitudes which you harbor will be known sooner or later, and Jesus Christ knows not only your words but also your thoughts and your motives.


So what do we do as Christians, in order to avoid infighting? The naïve and the youthfully enthusiastic will think they can change the whole face of the Church, while the hurting and the cynical will think any hope for change is useless. Then there is the middle road, considering what is realistic while not losing hope. One person is not going to change the Church. However, each one of us can control how we behave toward others. It all begins with your heart. Examine yourself closely and ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything in your heart that does not belong there (Psalms 19:12-14, 66:18).


If there is, confess and repent and be freed from it. Be filled with the Spirit and thus the love of God and the boldness to speak the truth (Acts 4:29-30; Ephesians 4:15, 5:18, 6:18-20). Recognize that although there will be denominations and  disagreements until the Lord straightens all this out, you do not have to be a source of division. Agree to disagree while at the same time not compromising Biblical truths for the sake of unity. If you are holy and righteous in your conduct, you will not have to separate from others. Those who are not walking uprightly will separate themselves from you, and that includes other Christians who have not matured enough to know or care about the difference between being bold and being belligerent, who have not learned to speak the truth in love but use the Scriptures as a machine gun and as a sledgehammer.


If someone does hold views too contrary to the Word for you to have fellowship with them, separate yourself from them peaceably if at all possible, and by all means pray for them. When it is time to call out a person, a group, or a ministry, do not just be familiar with where they are wrong. Show them also what is right so that they may have a solution to their error. Do not prematurely judge. Know the facts about a person, group, or ministry before you start speaking or writing. Remember Elihu from the book of Job. Not only was he angry at Job, he was also at Job’s three friends, and here is why:


Job 33:3:  Also against his three friends his wrath was aroused, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.


Change begins with each one of us. With clean hearts and pure consciences, filled with the Holy Spirit, we can be the kind of loving and bold Christians that God wants us to be, the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). You can at least be in harmony with some of the Christians that you know. There is greater strength in numbers than when by yourself as a believer, and the love we have toward one another is a powerful witness to a lost and dying world.


Ecclesiastes 4:12:  Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.


John 13:34-35:  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”



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