God’s Purpose in Divisions and Factions in the Church

by Mike Ratliff

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19 ESV)

I was listening this morning to Chris Rosebrough’s “Fighting For the Faith” on the Pirate Christian Radio podcast for 9/2/2010. The show seemed pretty long. I checked and it ran for over 2 hours and 38 minutes. In it Chris addressed the 25th Anniversary of the Jesus Seminar and some other things. At the 1:02:50 point in the broadcast he began what he calls The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly segment. It is where he reviews sermons. This one was a very long sorta’ sermon from Rob Bell’s Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan in which he had guest Peter Rollins speak. Chris did a fine job of breaking it up with his own input. If you aren’t familiar with Peter Rollins, he is a Post-Modern “thinker” from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is very much at home in the Emergent camp. I know that there has been a campaign to try to make Rob Bell not appear Emergent, but he speaks in this “sermon” as well and his comments at the end seal it. All through Rollins rambling “sermon” he speaks quite a bit about religion and life, but, to him, real Christians are those who are proven to be so by their doubts, not their solid faith. Never once does he talk about Christ’s atoning work in the Cross as the propitiation for sinners. No, to him, real Christians are those who work to make the world a better place. Jesus was like a coach to him, no more. In any case, at the end of the broadcast, Rob Bell said that hearing all of that was like drinking from a cold stream of water. On the other hand, I felt exactly the opposite. I was in desperate need of Biblical truth to wash myself clean from the filth of heresy.  Continue reading