Tag Archives: church controversy

The Precious Church

There is no group of people more precious than the church. Predicted by prophecy (Isaiah 2:2-4; Matthew 16:18) the church is the collection of the saved who have been gathered together by the decree of God. The church is precious and perfect. Sinners, saved by Christ, fill the church. They bring their weaknesses and imperfections with them but the church itself is without spot.

Jesus is the only head of the church (John 14:6; Ephesians 1:22, 5:23; Colossians 1:18). But his role is not of a dictator or ruler. The church is his bride. Like a newly married couple, Jesus looks upon his church with incredible, divine love. Bible writers speak of Christ like a husband who cares for his beloved (Ephesians 5:25). John the Baptist speaks of Jesus as a bridegroom (John 3:29) and the apostle John speaks of the great marriage feast of Jesus (the Lamb) and the church (Revelation 19:7, 21:1-9, 22:17). His love for the church cannot be overstated as he gave his life for the church and purchased it with his own blood (Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28). The entire book of the Song of Solomon is likely a comparison describing the love Christ has for his church through the eyes of a man in love with his betrothed. The church means all to Jesus.

A man cannot force his way into the church nor can he enter through his own plans. In John 10:1-18 Jesus uses a sheepfold as an illustration of the church. There is only one legitimate door into the fold and only one legitimate Shepherd. Anyone who enters otherwise is a fraud.

Like a marriage, there is no compulsion in Christ. The marriage is between two people who desire the union. When a man, upon faith and repentance obeys the Lord in baptism he is added to the church. That is, he is joined to his Lord through his faith and obedience (Acts 2:38, 41, 47). We leave the world of singles and become married to Christ through the power of the Father (Colossians 1:13, 14). We are joined to Christ because we love him. We love him because he loved us first (1 John 4:19).

Now if the church is so precious to Jesus, how should we view the relationship? Is it not reasonable to expect a bride to view her spouse with all the love and devotion that he shows to her? Sadly, some are lukewarm toward the bridegroom. Their love has grown cold (Matthew 24:12) and they no longer honor their first love (Revelation 2:4). Outsiders assault the union of Christ and his church. They claim to love Jesus but hate organized religion. That is, they hate his church. True, some have been hurt by people in the church but they were never hurt by the church itself. They forget that it is Christ Himself who loves us and provides for us in his church. They share equally with every other member of the church who, like themselves, are sinners (Romans 3:9, 23; 1 John 1:5-10). The depth and horror of our sin is beyond explanation yet every one of us is still perfectly loved by Jesus.

Division and strife often arise in the church. Since it is made up of sinful people we should not be surprised that turmoil happens. In the middle of the first century the original Christians struggled with cliques in the church. Paul opposed such trouble and called Christians to speak with a single voice (1 Corinthians 1:10).  In Ephesians 1:3, Paul taught Christians to maintain both peace and unity in the church. The principle of 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 is vital in understanding that it is better to suffer a wrong than to air dirty laundry before the public. Husbands and wives often have disputes but they must not run to Facebook or Twitter to air their grievances. As a general principle, disputes should be contained. They should involve the very minimum number of people possible and should never be carried beyond the walls of his precious church.

Christ died for the church. We can suffer a little for it too, don’t you think?


Church Division – Part 2

Church division is never good although in a few cases it may be necessary. In this article we continue our previous discussion on church division and the reasons it is common. We previously spoke of sin and doctrine as reasons for division within the local body. These are areas in which division may necessary or even commanded. Of course the root which causes the division is always wrong.

There are other common causes for church controversy which we should examine in some detail.

Pride Causes Church Division

Pride is widely known as a serious problem both in the church and in society generally.  Continue reading Church Division – Part 2

Church Division – Part 1

Church division is never good. It follows discord, discontent, poor fellowship and sin. While it may be necessary to remove the disorderly  from  fellowship (1 Corinthians 5:1-2; Romans 16:17; Matthew 18:17 ) the roots which caused that removal are sad. Like surgery, division may be necessary but it is never good.

Paul addressed church division as the first issue in his first letter to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 1:10 ff). There, people were beginning to group themselves together based upon favorite teachers or leaders within the church. There is no indication that the leaders themselves were involved; one was Jesus himself ( 1 Corinthians 1:12). However Paul disapproved of the brethren separating themselves into groups. Paul asked the rhetorical question, “Is Christ divided” (1 Corinthians 1:13)? The obvious answer is “no.” While the apostle does not give many details about the division in Corinth, we can distill several reasons for division today and then seek to avoid those problems in the church that Jesus died for.

Sin Causes Church Division

Division erupts over sin. We mentioned three passages above in which sinful actions caused a person to be marked out or identified  (1 Corinthians 5:1-2; Romans 16:17; Matthew 18:17 ). A Christian persisting in ongoing, public sin may be removed from  fellowship. Removal or prevents the spread and acceptance of the sin ( 1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:6, 9). It protects the reputation of the church towards those on the outside and it tries to draw the erring one back into the faithfulness (1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 2:6-11). To remove fellowship is strong action which requires extensive prayer, study, patience and interaction with the sinner. It is done with the awareness of our own weaknesses (Galatians 6:1-5; Matthew 7:3) and with love toward the sinner.

Doctrine Causes Church Division

Why are there so many different churches and religious bodies in the world? It is because they all teach differing doctrines. While two denominations may be tolerant of their differences they are still divided and that does not please the Lord. Paul rebuked the church for divisions based upon favored leaders ( 1 Corinthians 1:10 ff) and for a myriad of worship issues which created divisions (I Corinthians 12:21-27;  1 Corinthians 11:17-22; 1 Corinthians 14:33).

The issues in Corinth were public issues. Sometimes a brother or sister may hold some errant teaching privately and does not promote it. New Christians may still carry denominational baggage when they enter the body of Christ. These people are to be taught and division should not come from their private thoughts.

Division is not good. In our next lesson on church division we will see some personal traits that divide the body of Christ. If you have not done so already, please subscribe to the Preacher’s Study Blog so that you won’t miss a single article

Church Controversy Must Be Controlled

The eloquent penman Wayne Jackson offers another fine article from his Christian Courier website. We highly recommend the website to our readers as a fine site with a wide variety of articles for your consideration.

One article in particular was posted today and should be required reading for every church member. Entitled Church Controversies, Jackson reminds us that many things should be settled in the family and not hung out on a line for all to see. We have observed with great sadness some brethren using the internet to assault other brethren over issues that the world just doesn’t need to see. Please read this article carefully.

(Thanks to one of our elders, Scott Kelly who sent this to me. Thanks Scott!)