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BULLETIN EIGHTY ONE
WHY IS THERE SO MUCH INFIGHTING IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH,
INSTEAD OF MELLOW AND KINDLY COUNSEL TOGETHER ?
1. First, we need to change the wording, in order to avoid begging the question.
It is about the Christian Church that so very much fighting occurs; and to be sure, there is divergence among many as well, and sometimes this too is not IN it, but about it, when the matter is investigated, as in the case of Romanism, sometimes wrongly called Catholicism, for if Rome is to be the boss, then Matthew 23:8-10 is shamelessly contradicted, and this is even the word of Christ Himself.
2. Jesus Christ, spoke most vigorously against what He called the 'leaven', that is the interpretive principle of the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Herodians. Look at Matthew 23 if you want to see vigorous language: it is hard to surpass, though measured and controlled in dealing with these distortions of the teaching of the Bible. The Pharisees were intent on ADDING to the Bible and making rituals, as Christ showed, rather than keeping commandments; the Sadducees were against the wonder of God's operative power on this earth, as shown in their refusal to believe in the bodily resurrection continually taught, an invasion of philosophy to in naked rebellion against the glory of God, and the centrepiece of the cross-resurrection, core for pardon. The Herodians had political ideas to use for their particular invasion.
It is to be understood that God has Himself to reveal, man's salvation to instal and Christ's Gospel to disperse. Poisoned and contrary ideas are
a) an invasion of His grace,
b) an invasion of His word,
c) a distortion of His wonder in self-sacrifice and
d) a way to mislead those on the very verge of repentance and faith, as Christ indicated quite clearly of some, as seen in Luke 11:52-53.
Christ's word to these parts of the
religious body ? WOE! was their essence. WHY ?
It was because as at the flood period (Genesis 6), as before the destruction of the first Temple (II Chronicles 36), what stood for the word of God AS GIVEN and what wanted either to shave bits off, change the whole purpose or persecute those who followed the ways of divine grace, even from within the nation, as later predicted would occur within the Christian Church (II Peter 2, II Timothy 3-4, I Timothy 4), neither were nor could be at peace.
It resembled in type, a communist attempt to take-over a free society. They misrepresented this and that and used force to MAKE the nation subject to their dreams. This is fatal, whether in pagan philosophies outside the Church attacking it and trying to absorb it, or in imported ones within the Church, trying to seduce it. It was to happen, did happen and follows the type of Judas, Korah in the Old Testament (Numbers 16), and "vain philosophy", an attempt by human wisdom to invade and conquer Christianity from within (Colossians 2:8).
3. I have personally suffered in three different major denominations from people WITHIN them who have done such things. The Presbyterian Church of Victoria, for example, paid Staff in their seminary in Melbourne to teach young Ministers-to-be, and nearly all of those teachers attacked the Bible, day by day, with great effort, often with foolish philosophy and rarely with any showing of the Gospel. They attacked both Old Testament books and the New, even moving to present a different Christ, with reduced powers and imaginary nature. When I answered these attacks as a challenged student, they threw me out, and slandered me and what I was seeking to do. Some ten years later, the General Assembly of hundreds of elders and pastors, meeting in Sydney, threw out their condemnation and re-instated me. I for my part pointed out the extreme nature of the betrayal of these anti-Biblical invaders.
In New Zealand, the Principal of their seminary denied the resurrection of the body of Christ, on philosophic and unsustainable grounds, and I was the only one of the hundreds of Assembly representatives, on exposing the error to INSIST also on having my dissent from this denial of the biblical faith, recorded. For all time, that departure from the faith has its one who like Noah, showed up the rest. If one could do it, others could. But they did not take it to the end! The Church was being taken over by those denying its central and basic teaching.
They should have denied this attack on Jesus Christ and His word, but did not do so, rather letting their whole church become a product of human philosophy denying the very power of God, as predicted (II Timothy 3:1,5). That so many wonder that people like me have resisted such things, as commanded (cf. Romans 16:17, II Timothy 3:1-5, I Corinthians 5:5-8), shows in this case that they do not prize the faith and the gracious passion of God for this race, and let 'Mere Christianity' as Cambridge Professor, C.S. Lewis pointed out, become an empty husk....
Before this confusion and betrayal, spiritual soldiers should fight, not for their own peace or dignity, but for the very Gospel of God, and for His word. It is not at all a matter of interpretation very often, but of simple rejection, such as was the betrayal of Judas.
What I have seen personally over years, I cannot 'unsee'. It happened. It was common. It was taking over in Church after Church: not so much disagreements about what is the Bible, but about bothering to believe it.
4. That is not all. These people have become so powerful in many large denominations, that they dictate to the seminary students, get rich appointments to teach and teach amiss, and try to carry all before them, turning once sound Churches into sites of spiritual terrorism.
5. Why is a doctor zealous against disease, a husband careful for his wife, and a Christian keen to keep the biblical Gospel of his God, free from poisoning betrayals, people with spiritual nets, trying to catch it and fillet it till it is something else ? Why are faithful pastors keen to preserve the truth as in the Bible (as in II Timothy 4:2)! I Timothy 4:6 advises us that if a Minister warns and exhorts his people against these evils, he is a "good minister". That is keeping the flock from wolves in sheep's clothing (cf. Matthew 7:15-23).
6. Apart from the above 5 considerations, there is another aspect. Some things like the Gospel, are in their core, very simple. God loves. God acts. God acted. God solved the exclusion by adopting the repentant who received His word and His work of salvation, given freely, by faith. If you trust God, you do not TELL Him what He cannot do; you listen and learn and find out the truth of His word for yourself as many have done for millenia.
In love for the lost, many seek to awaken those who are propelled like jet engines to mocking unbelief, that ends justly in the hell all deserve for their sins. They are immune to correction, remedy and relief, even to the end (cf. Jude). Those who seek to STOP people finding this grace of God are many and with the world to back them, they rush like terrorists into churches, and some are brought to ruin by these means, like doctors with daggers being welcome, killing the patients. Naturally the faithful do not hesitate to expose such treachery and trickery, and seek to deliver.
7. However some things are deep and challenging to the extreme, even in the Bible. For my part, I took a year at Melbourne University doing an M.A. in Philosophy, to show that even in the profound subject of predestination and freewill, there is a solution in the Bible; and not only that, that it is the ONLY ONE THERE IS, or could be. Since then I have written some six more books on that subject, showing it in more detail and in more aspects. In these areas, they are so deep and there are so many points that people argue for, that it seems as if the ONE THING that many cannot stand, and which they vigorously condemn, is what is written. Yet I show at length that it is the extremes that do not match the facts, the Bible or solve the deep matters involved. It is ONLY if you follow EVERY part of the word of God on these issues, that they become clear and wonderful.
Is it strange that people go astray in deep matters ? Scarcely. Is it wrong to attack those whose presentation of the Bible does not differ from it ? Of course. Yet some become entangled in their minds, and attack not "wolves in sheep's clothing", but faithful ministers. They want to exclude them. This has happened to me and I have seen it working; and so can attest it. This requires patience, even if you are falsely attacked. That is another part of Christianity, enduring wrong while doing right.
Thus yes, there are many times when (as in the martyrdom of Stephen, Acts 7) people who name religion and even imagine they are serving God (cf. John 16:2) will kill others, or cut them off. Some get into their own traditions (as Christ indicated, Mark 7:7), and follow these, so making "the word of God of no effect." HE condemned this vigorously. Adding your own ideas to those of God and insisting on the result is like adding poison to aspirin for a head-ache. What doctor would not act vigorously to present either such malice or such viciousness, and call it by its name.
I hope this will give you an overview of much of this matter, and be a good basis for discussion, Lord willing.
To believe in Jesus Christ as He is, and not in some face-lifted version is like watching the Niagara Falls, instead of smelling a leather works. You have to be alert, circumspect, courageous, alive; but back of all that, if you RELY on Him, I have found this: He NEVER fails (as in Zephaniah 3:5) and brings truth to light, His compassions being new every morning, for great is His faithfulness (cf. Lamentations 3:23). To know Him is to know the truth, for He, Jesus Christ, is the way and the life and the truth, and to lack the knowledge of the truth makes persons scarcely human, like an appetite without food, a problem without answer or a desire for good without opportunity.