It Ain’t Just Us

In a recent Christianity Today Headlines section these were among the news items:

  • The Evangelical Theological Society president quits while members discuss “tradition” in Protestant theology
  • The biggest Christian conference in the United Kingdom splits while below the surface simmers a theological controversy that threatens to split the country’s evangelicals
  • The Church of the Nazarene is an idenity and theological crisis that threatens to divide that body as they approach their 100th anniversary

Later in that same issue, Christine A. Scheller, writes about Sorrow But No Regrets as she chronicles decades of heartbreak, scandal, sexual infidility, backbiting, and utter disappointment in her associations with various churches, church leaders and para-church ministries. She begins the ariticle by writing, “I’m not sure what to think about church anymore.”

In the most recent CT, one of the staff writers, David Aikman, opines about Attack Dogs of Christendom.  Here are some of his words:

  • “What disturbs me is the extent to which some Christians have turned themselves into the self-appointed attack dogs of Christendom. They seem determined to savage not only opponents of Christianity, but also fellow believers of whose doctrinal positions they disapprove.”
  • “The attacks, moreover, are not reasoned or modestly couched criticism, but blasts of ire determined to discredit beyond redemption the targets of the criticism.”
  • “No attribute of civilized life seems more under attack then civility. If Christians blast each other from here to eternity with characterizations that differ little from the coarse vulgarity of cable TV, where on earth is the witness that brings grace and savor to our crumbling civilization?”

The disgrace of division goes far beyond my fellowship of the Churches of Christ. It seems the demonic forces are gaining in their attempt to discredit Christ by having us discredit each other.

Every time one Christian fires off a nasty verbal or written volley at another Christian our witness fades a little more.

Every time one angry group at church conspires to seperate from another angry group at church our ability to impact darkness diminishes even more.

There is no glory in knowing that it ain’t just us- just more shame.

The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. – Galatians 5:14-15

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17 Responses to It Ain’t Just Us

  1. johndobbs says:

    Amen! Some of your posts are worth the wait…like this one. Why do we choose division so quickly when often these things can be worked out.

  2. dannydodd says:

    Thanks John. Division saddens me to the core. I agree that these things can be worked out. I plan a follow-up post to this one to discuss just that.

  3. Dee Andrews says:

    Welcome back, Danny –

    I’m not surprised by the items in your post, but it is really disheartening, isn’t it?

    Makes you wonder how much further things can go downhill in this world before God has enough and ends it all. Maybe these ARE the end times.

    Either way – I’m ready, but just hope I’ll have time to bring some more others along with me.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Dee

  4. Donna says:

    I hate what division and in-fighting does to us…but I don’t think we realize how much harm it does to Jesus. Who wants to follow someone when his disciples act like school children on the playground? I pray that I extend grace and mercy to all who are trying to serve him….all!

  5. Lee Hodges says:

    What is even more sad and embarrassing is that the world we should be reaching for Christ, and should be examples of His influence in our lives to, are not drawn to the Cross because HE is not being lifted up. But on a more positive note, this turmoil may result in less denominational loyalty and more openness among those who are looking for a better united way to be Christ in the world.

    By the way…welcome back!

  6. One has to be a blind and bigoted sectarian to say that the Churches of Christ are “worse” off than anyone else. We have problems, several of them, but we also have a rich and wonderful heritage. Thank you for a reality check that is much needed today.

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  7. preacherman says:

    Excellent post brother! Amen!

  8. Trey Morgan says:

    A fantastic post and “amen” to the thoughts…

  9. Ken Sewell says:

    Seems like our brotherhood is not alone in tearing at each other’s throats. The other day, I reread 2 Chron. 30 and wondered again why I have never heard a sermon on Hezekiah’s prayer for the unpurified who were attempting to seek God. I think we might consider the same compassion today for all who seek the Lord. “But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, `May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God–the LORD, the God of his fathers–even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.’ And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.”

  10. dannydodd says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone- and the welcome backs!

    I especially appreciated Ken’s input and inclusion of Hezekiah’s prayer. Wow! Talk about exactly the kind of spirit needed today. I have never preached a sermon on that text, but that will now change. 🙂

  11. Lee Hodges says:

    Before we let this on go, I just ran across the following on a Baptist preacher’s blog near hear.

    “I just read the Gallatin News Examiner, and I now know that the Bible Belt is still in charge of Sumner County.

    The reasons:

    The lead story the last two weeks in the paper has been about a fight in the local Baptist church that caused their preacher to leave.

    In a pitiful scenario, the article states:

    “He (the minister) also elicited sympathy from the congregation for the difficulties his family has faced, including threats that led to extra police protection in his neighborhood and his family being placed in protective custody. Gallatin police spokesman Lt. Kate Novitsky confirmed the department had patrolled LaBorg’s home over allegations of vandalism, but said, “He has never been under protective custody.”

    Both the threat and the exaggeration of the threat are ridiculous.

    The article goes on to quote this preacher as saying: “find a Holy Ghost, corn-shuckin’ man of God.” He goes on to say, “Pray for him, because he ain’t got a clue what he’s coming into.”

    “If you have to shuck corn to be a man of God, I am in trouble.”

  12. benoverby says:

    Blessed are the peacemakers. When will we ever learn that the other person or group isn’t our competition–they’re our companions. Revelation pictures a tree in the new creation with leaves that are for the healing of the nations. That’s going to be one popular tree!

  13. Mark Stark says:

    Danny, thanks for the invite to the blog (didn’t know this existed) and great article. If we could all just focus our eyes, thoughts, actions and spirit on God, we wouldn’t be devouring one another. The post about Hezekiah was right on target…loving and praying for one another is the answer. I look forward to your sermon on this.

  14. TCS says:

    Well, I’ve spoke on Hezekiah’s passover several times…but it will get you “in trouble”. Churches of Christ are not “the only ones” but certainly are TOO often involved in division and arguments. I think a lot of this is due to all groups that are “super protestant” and who have based so much doctrine on a scientific way of defining God’s will. Rob Bell uses the analogy of people whose faith is like a brick wall. All built on top of each other. When one brick falls they all fall. So you HAVE to defend your wall. I just don’t think it was ever meant to be that way.

    one thing I am learning is that mine or anyone else’s criticism or attack says much more about them than the subject at hand.

  15. Welcome back! Hope you had a great time at the camps!

    Enjoyed your post…just wonder as I have for a while now when we will ever learn that it is Satan who is our enemy…not each other…

  16. dannydodd says:

    Thanks for sharing that story Lee. It is sad and tragically funny at the same time.

    Thanks Ben for reminding us of the role of peacemakers.

    Tommy, your unique insight is always appreciated in comments here and on your blog.

    Welcome Mark. Glad to have you at Gateway (Mark is our new involvement minister) and on the blogsphere.

    And Tammy, your point is right on- Satan is our real enemy.

  17. Darin says:

    If we could just learn that Corinth wasn’t going to be stopped by order of worship or proper song style or not using this or that.

    Maybe there is a reason that Paul’s answer was I committed to knowing Christ and Him crucified.

    Maybe there is something in that response after all.

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