Category: Unity


Image by weirdvis (Lynne Lancaster) http://www.rgbstock.com/user/weirdvis

Image by weirdvis (Lynne Lancaster)
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/weirdvis

God’s Way Sacrificed

To many, the idea of church leadership through consensus sounds like leadership is taken from God and given into the hands of men. Nevertheless, it is precisely God’s way of seeing His will done in and through the Church. Sadly, the church is full of stories of leadership abuse, which could have been prevented if we had implemented God’s way of directing the church.

Authority

Church leadership only has authority to implement God’s leading concerning the whole church when group consensus is reached by the whole church. While one person may have God’s word on a subject, and with that the authority to share it, he or she still needs to obey God’s way and seek consensus before action can be taken.

Consensus Builds True Unity

This may seem like a painful process, but in the end it builds real relationships and true unity around issues. Outside of consensus, leaders easily default to the sin of preeminence where they employ the world’s ways and steam roller their ideas into action. Sadly, many church leaders justify this style by the success of their ministry, but the end never justifies the means! An environment of love is the only way to the outcomes that we seek and may often be more important than our goals.

Consensus Protects the Group and the Individual

Consensus is a way of protection. For example, in the case of church discipline in the New Testament, consensus is sought by involving everyone. This way a fair judgment can be reached through unity and also the fear of the Lord can be on everyone involved.

Consensus is the Fruit of Faith

Seeking consensus puts faith into practice. It is the belief that Jesus really is the head of the Body of Christ and is able to lead each member in unity.

Right and Wrong Examples

Acts chapter 15 is a good example of how the whole church is involved in resolving serious decision making and of how everyone was involved. Conversely, 3 John 1:9-10 shows Diotrephes as a leader who sought preeminence and bullied his way in the church.

For more on this subject you can read these related posts:

Church Leadership

Hierarchical Leadership – The Main Hindrance in the Body of Christ Part 3

Who Calls the Shots (Decision Making) in the Body of Christ?

Rank or Respect

Church Governance 101

Does the Bible Support the Position of a Senior Pastor?

The Super Guru Culture

Rob

Celebration or Separation?

Celebration or Separation?

Cult-like Movement

Messianic Judaism is a term coined to distinguish Jewish believers in Jesus as the Messiah. But, despite the joy of Jews believing in Jesus as their Messiah, it is sadly a movement within Christianity with cult-like tendencies. The movement parades itself under the guise of mere cultural Christianity, but it often carries menacing and divisive traits by its adherents. And, basically, by design, it’s a divisive movement.

Soured Celebration

Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that all cultures should be able to enjoy the Christian faith within their own culture and to the extent that their culture doesn’t conflict with the Gospel. Likewise, Judaism carries a number of cultural-religious ideas and practices that Jewish believers in Christ can also hold onto. In this way, Messianic Judaism should be no different to say Zulu Christianity or American Christianity or Chinese Christianity or any other people’s expression of the Christian faith and culture. However, sadly, Messianic Judaism is often foisted, subtly or forcedly, on Jewish and non-Jewish believers as the ultimate Christianity to which all should aspire. A sort of superior Christianity!

Separate and Superior

Now, you have got to wonder about a group that speaks of themselves in such separate terms to all other Christians. I mean, a Zulu who comes to faith doesn’t go about saying, “I am a Zulu Christian” or use the term “Zulu Christianity”. That would smack of separateness and could lead to having an air of superiority! Yet, this is precisely what “Messianic Jews” do and what Messianic Judaism is.  Also, and especially annoying, is that non-Jewish converts to this form of Christianity participate in doing this.

Redeeming Messianic Judaism

Now, the term Messianic Judaism is useful if used among Jews to distinguish Jewish believers from other Jews, but it should not be used in the church, as it fosters a sense of division. And, where this happens, mischief is at work, because, Christ is not divided!

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision matters. What matters is faith that is active through love” (Gal. 5:6).

Rob

Go here for Messianic Judaism – Celebration or Separation Part 1

Rediscovering Unity

Rediscovering Unity

In order to better affect the nations with the blessings of God, it is paramount that we, as the Body of Christ, rediscover, nurture and enjoy the unity that we have amongst one another.

Notice, we don’t need to establish unity, we simply need to recognize the unity that God has already established amongst all believers through His Son’s death, resurrection and ascension.

Sadly, we are so easily divided over our opinions and this is where we have fallen off the bus. We are too easily snared by the need for others to think like us and when they don’t, we often don’t hesitate to create division. And, we do this to the point of clouding the unity which God has already given us that it often appears lost.

Through the cross God has demonstrated His love for us by receiving us as His own children irrespective of our opinions. And this He continues to do while changing us to be more like Christ. Also, irrespective of our opinions, God has made each of us who believe, members of Christ’s body, the Church. So, if He has already accepted each of us irrespective of our points of view and continues to do so, then who are we to establish fences between one another where He has none?

Recognizing the precious eternal unity that already exists among each and everyone in the Body of Christ is the starting point for nurturing and enjoying it. If we seek unity on the basis of doctrine alone then we will always be divided, unable to cultivate the unity that we have in Christ. But, if we genuinely love one another despite our opinions, then we have the essence of how to grow in unity. You see, our place and unity in the Body of Christ is founded on God’s sacrificial love, and sacrificial love is our means for growing in unity.

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!  It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore” (Psalm 133:1-3).

Rob

Related post

Welcoming Differences, Avoiding Division – Part 4: The Problem of Being Different in Church

Part 1

Is Messianic Judaism an expression of separateness or celebration? Has the term Messianic Judaism promoted cultural identity at the expense of identity in Christ? Has the fruit been division or unity? Has the Messiah or has Judaism been the focus?

Messianic Judaism has as its focus the religious and cultural values that belong to a certain people, but because they have made it their primary focus they have created division instead of unity. Those who become Christians in any culture don’t promote their culture as a primary objective. If promoted at all, culture needs to remain secondary to what makes Christianity truly unifying.

Messianic Judaism’s focus is so strong that those who practice it may feel the necessity to be separate from other believers. They form clicks within churches or simply meet separately altogether. Preferably, it would seem, they would like other believers to do things their way, believing it to be a more authentic expression. They major on terms that make them distinct rather than on those that make us one.  Undue focus gets given to things that are interesting but not necessarily life-giving.

Proponents of this are not overtly teaching another Gospel, to which Paul would have said, “Who has bewitched you!” However, surely the way that Messianic Judaism is practiced separately is what Paul reprimanded Peter for. In my mind simply having a term Messianic Judaism creates an air of separateness and not celebration. It has by nature a sense of dividing God’s people, the Jewish believers from the others.

Rob Morley

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