by Mike Ratliff
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. John 15:19 (LSB)
One of the first accusations that comes forth from the apologists for the Purpose Driven paradigm in response to any attempt to show the unbiblical nature of it is that we are being divisive. They insist on unity at all costs regardless of the fact that the doctrinal stances held within the Church Growth movement do not line up with biblical orthodoxy. If we are to be obedient to the commands from scripture to be in the world, but not part of it, we cannot attempt to be unified with those who are not obedient to them.
We live in a culture that has succumbed to relativism. I heard a portion of a speech today given by Barak Obama not long ago. He was addressing a conference of American religious leaders. In his speech he stated quite succinctly that his vision for our country is that all religions become equal because the truth is relative after all. However, our Saviour did not teach any such thing. Instead, we see in Sacred Scripture that the opposite is true. Jesus was divisive. He caused division wherever he went. Those who followed Him had to leave everything to be His disciple. In other words, He is Lord of all or not Lord at all. To follow our Lord as commanded makes us most radical. To this day the greatest division in the world is “because of Him.”
43 So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him. John 7:43 (LSB)
Even those who were not Jesus disciples were divided over Him. Some admitted none of His claims. Others admitted a portion, but denied the rest. Certain admitted His claims, but neglected to follow out the legitimate consequences of them. A few became His sincere hearers, going as far with Him as they had yet learned of Him.
There was a supernatural division between believers and non-believers. This still exists today and is growing ever wider. Just do a search in Google for Jesus and you will find every ‘opinion’ about Him that you could ever imagine. Most of these opinions deal with whether He is Lord or not. Of course those who argue against Him being Lord are in unregenerate rebellion. Even those who claim to be Christian, but refuse His Lordship are actually amongst the non-believers. Many professing Christians rely on self entirely. However, the godly trust only in Jesus.
There is also a division of love. I have noticed that there is a growing number of people professing to love Jesus, but their Jesus is not the Biblical Jesus. However, the godly love the real Jesus and no counterfeit will do. The genuine believer obeys the Lord. His or her character is becoming conformed to His with the resultant righteous behavior. On the other hand, the unregenerate, whether professing Christians or not, can only obey the Lord by fleshly will power, but they fail miserably even in this. Their character is not Christlike and their behavior is marked by that.
The godly are becoming living sacrifices through mind renewal. They are being transformed from what they inherited in their birth unto the holy nature of Christ. The way these people walk is not perfect, but it will reflect a move towards repentance. On the other hand, the ungodly are focused on themselves. If they are religious their walk within that will be by works, which is a form of idolatry. In any case, false religious activity does not produce godly character because it is not within the grace of God. It is all counterfeit.
The godly have an eternal destiny with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. However, the ungodly have an eternal destiny separated from Him forever. The directions of the lines of life point at different places as the end of the journey. This cleavage divides the dearest friends and relatives. This is the most real and deep difference in the world.
On the other hand, there is genuine unity when faith comes. Genuine Christians are color blind. There is no racism or bigotry amongst the regenerate. Calvary heals Babel. Jews and Gentiles are one in Christ. I heard a sermon not long ago where the preacher spoke of two friends of his who were both in Christ and spoke of Jesus exactly the same way yet one was a very sophisticated and wealthy person in California while the other lived in poverty in a grass hut in Brazil. They had the same Saviour and have the same eternal destiny. Personal peculiarities cease to divide. Workers for Christ are sure to be blended in one body by their common difficulties. Let us divide, if there be a division. Let us closely unite, if there be real union in Christ.
Christ, Who is properly the Author of peace, is, on account of the wickedness of men, the occasion of discord. – John Calvin.
My brethren, let us be united in our faith even in our obedience to seek the repentance of those who profess Christ on their own terms.
Soli Deo Gloria