Is Satan the devil really as powerful as to cause the kinds of division seen among true Christians today?
Before answering the above question, I guess it is important for us as Christians to remind ourselves of the obvious—that is, we are Christians only because we have Christ in us. Therefore, we all belong to Him.
Doubtless, the devil and his cohorts are powerful but not most powerful! Certainly not powerful enough to take on Christ Jesus the Creator of all things Colossians 1:16.
While the bible described Satan as the strong man, Christ is declared as the stronger man Luke 11:22.
So why has the devil succeeded and is still succeeding in inciting division among believers against the desire of Christ for His Church to live and enjoy unity and peace?
It seems the problem lies with something we Christians have not understood and as such are not obeying. But, what could it be? Don’t be partisan—don’t build camps.
Paul and Barnabas understood this truth. In-spite of their disagreement, they kept on with the gospel without nicknaming it their brand. Because there was absence of this branding of the gospel, when Paul requested for John Mark’s assistance in the gospel, Barnabas did not think Paul was trying to get Mark to switch movement, denomination or camp.
The apostles had a firm grasp of the path Jesus laid for the Church’s unity and peace. Hence, it helped them not to build little or huge camps for themselves.
Though we read of the disagreements in the early church, we see no example of the sort of camps, denominations and movements we have today. Given the grace Paul had for deep and difficult revelations into the Person of Christ as testified by Peter, he could have easily created his own camp, denomination or movement and nicknamed it “Paulinism”. But rather, he exhorted and admonished thus; 1 Corinthians 1:12, 3:4-6, 22, 4:6.
Even where some Christians derailed into dangerous doctrines, the apostle’s approach to correcting them was not to nickname their own gospel. Rather, they confronted the false doctrines headlong—by showing the church via the scriptures and their Christlike lifestyle how the doctrines were wrong. Presently, the church is so deviated from this pattern one would wonder if ever it can be remedied. Here is where faith comes in! All things are possible if we are willing to believe, trust and obey the Omnipotent God.
Well, the bible speaks of the wiles of the devil and states that we’re not ignorant of it. Could it be that we have actually made ourselves ignorant of it?
Let us look at one of his wiles which I strongly believe the church has been for a long time ignorant of and therefore has not attacked it with our Christ given weapons of prayer, wisdom, love and obedience.
The wile I am referring to is the camps we have unwisely built for ourselves, though we have not done this intentionally in all cases. Nevertheless, its effect has achieved the devil’s wishes for us to be divided contrary to our Saviour’s desire for His church to live in unity.
Over the centuries, the Holy Spirit has been revealing clearly that this tragedy of camp building and its divisive effect has to be addressed. But the costs to those who have laboured and invested not just money but their lives to building these camps is enormous. As a result, it’s overwhelming to think about redressing the issue. But, I am persuaded that most of the faithful servants of God who have long joined the Lord will undo the things they did to contribute to the camps we have today if they are given a chance. Pardon my presumption.
So, what will it be for us who remain today, are we going to agree with the Spirit of God and break down these camps or what?
God never builds upon wrong foundation. He always first clears the refuse of lies. His ancient pattern is always to breakdown and build up afresh and anew. Strategic restructuring is never His pattern.
Am I saying we don’t need these nicknames: Multicultural, End time, Reform, Emergent, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical, Calvinist, Armenian, House church, Baptist, and Methodist etc.? My apologies if I missed out your camp.
It is God’s mind that we should breakdown these camps if we truly want to experience the Lord Jesus’ desire for us to enjoy unity and peace amongst us (the church). For clarity, I am not addressing “unity within our camps and its babies”. It is amply clear that the tactics employed to achieve our tactical “unity” has not and cannot workout unity for His body. Neither can ecumenism.
What I am addressing is the unity of the spirit and peace in the one church that has expression across the different locale.
Now, I am not saying the camps are the cause of disagreements but that they are catalysts for division—actually, the camp is the division. In part 1 of Unity and peace, I did state clearly that disagreement is not division and should not lead to it. However, it is unthinkable to have camps without division.
Love—foundation of the faith, with unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, will carry His church through disagreements. These disagreements arise mainly because we all do not get the true understanding of the person of Christ at the same time. We grow in our knowledge, in our walk in and with Christ at varying paces and God is satisfied with that. If a Christian within a gathering or the whole gathering locale is sinning or in error doctrinally, it should be addressed as such and not from the standpoint of gospel brand.
So, why the bitter divisions? The answer is crystal clear—the camps!
The problem is this; if we must grow our camps then unavoidably we will be partisan, crafty, callous, and egocentric instead Christocentric. But, if we choose Christo-centricity, then, painfully but rewardingly, the camps must need be done away with.
As the body of Christ, here are three vital things to consider deeply if we are honestly desiring our unity and peace.
Firstly, is God actually wanting us to breakdown these ungodly walls (camps, denominations, movements) that have been built knowingly or unknowingly over the centuries?
Secondly, are we prepared to repent and pay the painful price of breaking down the camps our past beloved brothers and sisters and even us now have painstakingly built and relied on for our identity for so long?
And lastly, are we ready to start afresh, learn the things we hopped and skipped over and follow Christ’s pattern relying only on Him, the captain of our salvation, the centre of our unity and the prince of our peace?
What’s your response? It will be helpful to the church.