Unity and Schism

An important and sound reflection in view of recent issues that have upset many of my readers. Am particularly pleased with Nicholas’ central emphasis on ‘accountability’, which is where the many non-traditional, modern churches can be vulnerable – yet 30 years ago ‘heavy shepherding’ gave rise to concerns and reaction to steer away from that style of pastoral oversight.
When I objected to joining a church as a possible new believer the Lord gave me the definitive answer by opening my new bible to Hebrews 13:17 – ‘Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so their work will be a joy and not a burden, for that would be no advantage too you.’ Such a clear directive was foundational to my journey along ‘The Way’!

All Along the Watchtower

Today I have spent some time reflecting on history and tradition, having watched Gavin Ashenden’s presentation on why he left the Church of England. Earlier in the week, I read a post at Cranmer’s site about the problem of schisms in politics and churches. Christianity has a long history of dividing into factions. In the very pages of Scripture we read:

“For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:11-13, NKJV)

Verses like these present us with questions. When is it appropriate to put aside one’s differences and go…

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2 thoughts on “Unity and Schism

  1. “In the beginning, Christianity was real…” This is how I began my book. Regarding church authority, submitting to church authority, accountability, etc, such must be understood from a pure and original New Covenant perspective. The ultimate authority to whom all believers must submit is the Lord Jesus. Until believers gain spiritual maturity they are to be instructed by spiritually mature believers who have submitted to the Lord Jesus. In this way the Lord remains not only the ultimate authority but the only authority. Paul insisted that all believers are equal, the only difference being that we all have different levels of spiritual maturity. We are never commanded to submit to any spiritually authority not submitted to the Lord. This means Christian leadership so called must be vetted. It can only be vetted according to the pure teachings of the Lord and those original spiritually mature ones who properly followed and obeyed Him. We have an entire New Testament that gives us all the answers we need in this regard.

    The early believers had the same problem we do in the present in that there were those who claimed the mantle of Christian leadership but were not actually under the Lord’s authority. Paul wrote about these people. He went so far as to call them false. He knew this because they were preaching a different gospel from that which the Lord taught that did not line up exactly with His teachings. These false gospels had various levels of truth but contained mixtures of untruth. Part of Paul’s calling and ministry as a teacher and apostle was to properly instruct the new believers of the spiritual communities he formed to know the difference between the real and the unreal. When it was real the same signs and spiritual effectiveness that followed the Lord’s ministry followed his ministry and that of all others who did the same. The Lord said, “You will know them by their fruits.” We must return to our roots. Thank you, Richard, and blessings to you.

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    • Many thanks for expanding upon this RJ because the Lordship of Jesus Christ in believers’ lives is absolutely vital and is critical in deliverance ministry based upon Matt 13:43-45. That is, recipients should allow and acknowledge by means of prayer declaration that Jesus Christ of Nazareth who came in the flesh is Lord of (and naming) every aspect of their lives. This enables all demonic hooks giving them rights of access (eg. via sins and soul-ties) to be cut and cleansed.

      I think Nicholas would appreciate a copy of your remarks on his original post.

      Liked by 1 person

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