by Barry Arnold
The church is one body, but in every local church there are two elements. There are always those who want things a little more conservative and those who want things a little more liberal. There are always issues to be contested and each group reacts against the other until a gap is created that destroys unity. In every church, there is a power structure. Woe to the church when there are two.
We cannot afford the luxury of a party spirit like the political world. We need to pray things to pass, fast, and seek the face of God, not manipulate to fulfill our own agenda.
We cannot afford the luxury of a party spirit like the political world.
In Non-Essentials, Unity
There are those who are not as much interested in the glory of God as they are in ruling the roost and having their own way. A lot of the little “splinter” groups that have come out of larger groups were the result of a power struggle. Someone was determined to sit on his own throne, toot his own horn, and have his own way, without ever stopping to consider the flock. Most of these groups disintegrate over a short period of time.
Beware of those who try to produce an undercurrent and draw you away over nonessential issues. Their agenda is only temporal. You cannot build the kingdom by tearing down the kingdom.
As holiness people we are often quick to draw conclusions and pass sentences on people and situations when we only know one side. There are always two sides to every issue.
A lot of discord evolves from amplifying differences in opinion on issues which are actually minor.
A lot of discord evolves from amplifying differences in opinion on issues which are actually minor. Also, many individuals labor intently to investigate the lives of others and find some inconsistency so they can magnify it and spread it.
I am afraid we have forgotten what often comes to my mind from reading old holiness books. “In non-essentials liberty, in essentials unity, in all things charity,” was once the cry of the holiness pulpit.
Now we must face the facts. We need to be realistic, if we are to realize unity. Faults and shortcomings are in all of us. Jesus said, “He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone.”
We can not pour everyone into the same mold and expect everyone to act, do, think, look, and be exactly the same as we are.
Unity, Not Uniformity
Another thing is very evident; God in creating us did not make all of us off of the same pattern. And aren’t you glad? God specializes in variety. So as a body of believers, with these things in mind, note that we differ in our temperaments, we differ in social skills and status, we differ in our culture, in our background, in our training and the homes we were raised in. We differ in our personal tastes in food, in exercise, in recreation, in relaxation, in colors, in styles, and in hobbies; therefore we can not pour everyone into the same mold and expect everyone to act, do, think, look and be exactly the same as we are. Some mistake uniformity for unity.
When I was a boy, we kept a flock of laying hens. They all wore red hats, white coats and yellow socks. They cackled the same and ate the same food; they had uniformity but not unity. If one got hurt and there was a drop of blood, the rest would pick it to death.
Some mistake uniformity for unity.
Some mistake mechanical unity for the unity we need. They think it is accomplished by outside pressure, like the old barrels that were held together by the external pressure of the hoops. Like the staves that held the barrel together, some seem to think the answer is external pressure. Bear down, crack the whip, and write a bigger rule book. External pressure has often produced some of the biggest splinters.
The Unity of the Spirit
We need the unity of the Spirit! This unity we need is something I cannot produce. This unity cannot be brought about by some superman coming in with new methods and ideas, nor by writing a thicker rule book, nor by pouring everyone into the same mold until we all come out parting our hair the same way.
External pressure often produces the biggest splinters.
Jesus said, “There is a sanctifying power.” He also said, “There is a Holy Ghost baptism.” There is a visitation of God that will deal with the problem. He prayed, “Father, sanctify them that they may be one in Spirit.”
My prayer, is that we will discard, destroy and defeat the undercurrents of the enemy and the work of Satan. Bind us together with hearts of love and praise to God for what He has done for us, and see our opportunities on the horizon for reaching the lost and saving our children until the name of God is glorified.
There is no victory, no glory, no future, no fruit, and no fire unless we as a church can bind together in cords of love and lock arms in a mighty force against sin.
I want to see the prayer of Jesus answered. It takes our cooperation; there is a part in it for you and a part in it for me. I pray God will help us fit into the right place.
There is no victory, no glory, no future, no fruit, and no fire unless we as a church can continue to bind together in cords of love and lock arms in a mighty force against sin. I believe God is just as great today as He was when this little church was started. I believe He is looking for people and He still has a work to do in our hearts for His glory.