Christian Fights: Eat Your Heart out WWF

Yesterday, two news stories about ¢â‚¬ËœChristian’ fights caught my attention.

In the town of Godley, (no pun intended) Texas, some guys who had been out drinking got in a dispute about who is going to heaven and who is gong to hell. In a scuffle that ensued one shot the other. [See Deadly Eternity Debate] In Jerusalem a fight broke out at the Church of the Sepulcher that resulted in 11 monks taken to the hospital. The disagreement involved Ethiopian Monks and Egyptian Coptics who disagreed over placement of a chair by an Egyptian in a spot claimed to be reserved for the Ethiopians. [ See Holy-Site Monks Brawl] For students of Christianity one thing is clear. We have been fighting since the beginning. Actually our fights began in Jesus presence when two disciples argued over which could sit at Jesus right hand in heaven.

Immediately after Paul’s conversion the disciples disagreed over whether to accept him into the fold. Paul and the Jerusalem church had to settle a dispute over circumcision and over whether disciples could eat meat at all, and especially meat that had been offered to idols. Paul and Barnabas spatted over whether to take Mark on a missionary journey and disagreed so sharply they parted ways.

Protestantism itself represents one of the biggest parting of the ways with Martin Luther arguing over scripture, salvation by faith and the priesthood of all believers.

American Christianity has spawned new denominations over fights. The Church of Christ offers instrumental and non-instrumental (making melody in your heart) versions of faith. The Amish drive buggies, the black bumper sect drive cars but they must be black with black bumpers and no chrome, and one more liberal Mennonite sect drives black cars but allows a little chrome to show.

Churches have split and people regularly leave churches over one issue or the other. It has been said that the seven last words of the church are: we never did it that way before. An elder placed a peg at the back of the church for the pastor to hang his hat on another elder took dissenters and formed the anti-peg Baptist church. Guitars in worship, carpet colors, movement of a communion table to a different spot all have caused bitter disputes between Christians.

We’re all aware of the distinction: in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty in all things charity, but unless we can agree on the essentials, application of the principal is difficult.

So we muddle along, aware that Jesus said they would know us by our love and that His will is for us to become one. We also know a watching world (including many of us in the church) think the divisiveness makes it very difficult to argue the case for Christianity. But we proceed with our fights, justifying our actions by pointing out that you really must draw the line in the sand at some point.

Evidently we’ve forgotten that Jesus had something to say about drawing a line in the sand it was something like, ¢â‚¬Ëœlet he who is without sin cast the first stone.’

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Posted in Staublog, Thoughts in July 31, 2002 by | No Comments »

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