Over the last few months I have had a phrase that has been heavy on my heart and describes what I feel about the status of the Christian community.
“Christianity has been at civil war for far too long.”
This is not a new revelation but is something that has been on my heart more so lately than ever before. I grew up in the Baptist church and in recent years I have been part of (for lack of a better word or to categorize) charismatic/pentecostal churches. Polar opposites in the denominational spectrum. I have seen the battle that rages against both sides. And that last sentence is what bothers me. The fact that there is a battle.
But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. bible.us/116/gal.5.15.n…
I read that passage this morning. Man…this is what scripture says. The Word is telling us that we will destroy each other if we continue to attack each other. The fighting has to stop. We need to unite. I know that there are and will be differences in theology, doctrine and the interpretation of scripture. But it does not mean that we need to fight each other.
The Word describes the Church as a body. Think of each church as a part of a body. Each one has a strength and offers something to whole team.
In recent weeks the band Jesus Culture has come under heavy attack from differing denominations. Jesus Culture is a well known band that is from Bethel Church in Redding, CA. But has been fully exposed across denominational lines because of their presence at the Passion Conference. Cheers to both Jesus Culture and Passion for reaching across the isle.
Jesus Culture and Bethel have now been labeled as more dangerous than abortion. They quote “usher people into Hell.” There are numerous other “watchman” that demonize Bethel Church. This is sickening and is completely immature, uncalled for and unGodly. This is just an example of the battle that rages.
Prepare yourself. Get your steel toe boots on.
From my experience, a difference that I see between the Baptists and charismatics is that I do not see charismatics attacking Baptist or any other differing denomination. At least from the circles I run in and follow. I used to be one of the so called watchman that was always looking for faults with other people’s theology, doctrines and interpretations. I could argue my perspective to the T. I could back everything up with Scripture and use Scripture to my advantage. For the most part charismatics have the reputation of seeking the Holy Spirit which by any means is not a bad thing. I do not hear charismatics bashing baptists or any other denominations other than beating them to the lunch line for Sunday lunchtime. So ask where is your focus? God or something else?
I believe that there are so many people that have bought into the doctrines more that the Author. Thus I believe that they are ushering themselves and others into Hell just as much as the person that completely denies Christ. Granted I know that people’s eternity is determined between God and the person. I believe that religion and even the Bible have become idolized. I believe that you can know the Bible front to back and still miss it. It being eternity with God. Our lives are to be about relationship with God. You have to know the Author along with what He has spoken in the Bible.
…to get back on track here…
Throughout these last few weeks I have had the subject of how Christianity being in civil war for so long. Along with the thought of civil war easily reminded me of the American Civil War. I believe the Lord was talking to me saying that I am to be the Abraham Lincoln of this Christian civil war. My initial reaction and even to this day is that calling or mantle is a big one. Not one to take lightly. It is not a comfortable position at all. Not an easy path. But someone has to take ground. Things just won’t work out by themselves. God uses us as instruments, weapons, tools to do His work.
The fact is that we are in a battle. But it is not supposed to be among ourselves (Christians) or even non-believers. We are at battle with the enemy. Satan and his followers. To make statements of how Bethel is ushering people into Hell is not coming from a heart of love or encouragement. People who make such remarks must aim their efforts and energy towards the enemy.
The phrase “friendly fire” comes to mind dealing with these sort of situations. But it is an inaccurate statement. The phrase is derived from soldiers accidentally or unintentionally firing upon their own soldiers. Keywords are accidentally and unintentionally. The soldiers are in unity with the intent to take out the enemy and not each other. Thus being friendly. Which leads to the inaccuracy of friendly fire from Christian to Christian. When Christians attack other Christians there is nothing friendly about it at all. Most of the time if not all the time the attacks are hateful, misleading and spun in a way to dethrone, dismantle or destroy. And what does the Word tell us about the enemy? The enemy comes to seek, kill and destroy. So what spirit are you operating from? The Holy Spirit or another spirit? Jesus came to give life and give it abundantly.
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying li… bible.us/116/jhn.10.10.…
So now the we have covered that there is a battle that rages between Christians, what are we to do? It is easy to point out problems but it is mature to seek out resolution. Well the Sunday school answer would be to love everyone. Sounds all peachy. But how do we love someone that is attacking us? Obviously, methods or approaches will be determined case by case so I will speak in general.
First I believe that we as individuals need to check our hearts. Ask God is our hearts are in the right place. Seek the plank in our own eye. We need to humble ourselves. Accept that I do not have it all figured out. I do not have all the answers. My point of view could be wrong.
Second, if something or someone needs to be confronted. Confront the issue at the source versus spreading hatred, rumors or inaccurate facts. Do not use Scripture to prove a point or to your advantage. Scripture is not meant to tear down anything. God is in the lifting up business.
Third, people are not the enemy. Plain and simple. Look at people like the Father does. Ask the cliche’ question that dominated our wrists for so long. W.W.J.D. What would Jesus do? If your reaction does not line up with how Jesus would handle situation. Take a step back, out of the box and look at the whole picture. Take a breath and think about what you are about to do.
- Is the result going to be uplifting, building or encouraging?
- Are you upset?
- Have you consulted with the Holy Spirit?
- Is your aim at a person or the enemy?
- Did you make your opinions public before contacting the person(s) of the problem?
There are definitely more options to maturely handle situations in a Godly manner. I encourage you to use your energy for the good. Not spend so much time tearing down other people. The Bible does tell us to be careful of who we listen to, but it does not tell us to attack them. Rather it tells us to love our enemy, pray for them and bless.
Let us as Christians start loving each other. Then maybe the world will want to be like us for a change. Why would anyone that is not a believer want to be part of a group that constantly attacks each other? Shoots our wounded? Throws others under the bus? They can get all that negativity elsewhere. I do not want Christians to have the reputation of being hypocrites.
Saying that does not mean I am interested in a popularity contest, dumb down the Gospel, cater to or become seeker friendly. I am simply saying lets get along. Lets turn our attention to the Lord. Stop attacking each other. If you want to win people to the Kingdom you have to think and act like Christ. Kingdom mindset.
We wonder why this country is so torn apart? We wonder why there is a moral decline? It is because we are attacking each other and as the Bible says, it will destroy us. So where there is no light, there is darkness. Shine the Light (Jesus).