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Church splits; and a call to look to Christ
It is the sad history of so many splits in denominations that the two opposite sides of a problem become hostile to one another. A site visitor to Christians Together has given a recent perspective.
Ed preface: The following comprises a response entitled ' Just a thought' to news report concerning a Church of Scotland congregation on the Isle of Skye. Similar upset has occurred in other congregations.
‘Just a thought’
I hear your pain and have no wish to trespass on the grief of a particular congregation. However there is one point I’d like to put forward.
We, if we claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, are to live according to his gospel…no matter what. No matter what.
Rather than looking solely at outward actions (to leave the church or soldier on), we must look deeply at the heart attitudes behind those actions. Is the action motivated by a sincere desire to serve Jesus, with all our heart, mind, soul and strength? If so, in grace and Christian love let those who leave and those who stay, part with sadness and regret – but also understanding, forgiveness and respect. A wound to the body, yes – but one that if made with godliness, will heal – maybe even to the strengthening of the body.
However, if division is fuelled by human and worldly motivations we must beware. That wound is ragged and holds no peace. Into it are seeded anger, resentment, bitterness, slander (Eph 4: 31-32) and these, left unattended, will fester into self-righteousness, hatred and distain. A wound that will corrupt and infect the body and has the potential to leave great scars.
At a time when God is shaking the church, many corrupted ‘gospels’ are coming to light….’gospels’ weighted by Self and My Rights being the most prevalent.
Yet the gospel of Jesus Christ says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matt 16:24-25)
The things we do in the name of Christ affect the body world wide. If we do something in his name, we really had better be sure we are doing it for him, and not for ourselves. The parable of the sheep and the goats was given to us for a reason. We will be sorted. We cannot afford to be found wanting.
As I have watched pain echoing through the Church of Scotland (and beyond), I have grieved the fact that many who claim to be Christian appear to have forgotten whom they serve. The claims they make have nothing to do with Jesus Christ and his gospel. During the many passionate debates, I have longed for the Lord to appear - that we, (like Job when confronted by the words of the Living God), would See, and put our hands over our mouth…or fall to our knees and like the doubting disciple Thomas say, “My Lord and my God…”
My prayer for the Church of Scotland, and our brothers and sisters all over the world is, REMEMBER…remember whom you serve. Remember, and rise…
A site visitor, 03/02/2012