Agree or Disagree?
What I write today will disturb some people, cause a few to doubt my sanity, and maybe even infuriate others. Please try to keep an open mind.
When we read the Bible, it is vitally important that we don't try to understand it by changing the principle taught to make it fit our agendas or peculiar perspective and thereby feel good about ourselves when otherwise we would not.
The Apostle Paul begins the following verses by urging, in Greek, to make a call by offering
The best perspective in life is God's.
evidence that will stand up in God's court. Let us consider three vital questions. What is the principle, what is the evidence, and are we grieving God today?
"Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brothers and sisters, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am with Paul," or "I am with Apollos," or "I am with Cephas," or "I am with Christ." Has Christ been divided? 1 Corinthians 1:10-13
The first assault upon our perspective is to dismiss the apparent parallel between Paul, Apollos, Cephas, and yes, Christ with their counterparts today of Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, Charismatic, and a host of others. The ecumenism movement, which was "meant to unite the church," shifted into high gear in the sixties. In reality, ecumenism was a ploy of the devil to turn conservative, evangelical Christians toward "Christian" liberalism. The message was to do away with the doctrine that divides and instead prove our Christianity by love alone. Iain Murray documented this well in The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
To answer the first question, what is the principle found in Paul's words, "...you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment." The same mind does not mean agreeing to disagree. No matter how much we want such a solution to work, no reasoning mind can believe that disagreement is agreement. Here is the principle more clearly stated, "...that there be no divisions among you..." Agreeing to disagree is to sanction division.
When facing an impossible task, the inclination is to compromise and make excuses as to why it can't happen so that it becomes acceptable and, thereby, not evil. The evidence of church division is millions of Christians worldwide claiming that the universal church is one but would not regularly worship together with their brothers and sisters, even if they could.
Paul urges us to be made complete. Some will think this can only happen in heaven. However, Paul is not thinking of heaven; by agreeing and making the same judgments, the Corinthians would be complete. To a young man overrun by hormones, moral purity can seem impossible. Jesus said with men, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. Possible with God is God's viewpoint. Thinking God's will is impossible for men is the plea of self to live on and ignore God's will. I urge you, brethren, don't embrace the devil's lie. Just as God can empower a young man's purity, even so, He could unite the universal church of believers here and now.
Furthermore, teachers devise sweet-sounding ideas like, "as long as we agree on the essentials, we can disagree on secondary issues." While putting a believer's mind to ease, where do we find such a teaching in all scripture? I'll tell you what we see: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! For there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forever." Psalm 133:1 & 3. If eternal life brings unity and therein God commanded the blessing, what does division bring?
Finally, let us consider the question, are we grieving God today? Minutes before, Jesus would drop to the ground in agonizing prayer, where he would sweat as great drops of blood fell to the ground. There He prayed His High Priestly prayer in John 17. There He said, "Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are." (verse 11) Should we believe that Father and Son agree to disagree?
And again He said, "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me." (verses 20 & 21) Is the world without a stumbling block to believing when it views a divided church?
And again Jesus prayed, "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me." (verses 22 & 23) It is one thing to be perfect; it is another to finish the course, win the prize, and please the Lord. The one satisfied to be displeasing to the Lord does not win the prize. Please think about these things carefully.
Are we grieving God today by advocating for division by finding it acceptable? I'm gonna go with yes!
TO BE CONTINUED!