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Gospel Gazette Online
Vol.  11  No. 1 January 2009  Page 13                    powered by FreeFind

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Fair and Balanced

By Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:10-11).

The above passage of Scripture is often viewed in context of false teachers, probably those insisting on including elements of Judaism into the Gospel, as Paul mentions such in verse 9. To divide a congregation over such issues is reprehensible at best, as the person doing so is working from selfish, sinful motives. The term for division comes from the Greek word hairetikos, translated by the KJV as “heretic.” Whether it’s false doctrine, or the expression of selfish desires, dividing a congregation to get one’s way is “heretical,” divisive, bringing God’s judgment as it destroys the unity He desires for His body.

However, does one have to advocate false doctrine to be divisive? What Paul is saying to Titus has a much wider implication. People can insist on getting their way, which may simply be a matter of opinion, not doctrine. Yet, how many congregations have suffered because of people wanting their own way? How many churches have split over matters that have nothing to do with doctrine, but members insisting on getting their way, over anyone or anything else? I know of one congregation that almost divided over whether to have live or artificial flowers in front of the baptistery! How sad to escalate tensions just for the sake of “getting my way.”

Unfortunately, some preachers are culpable in this, as well. Some, concerned with establishing their reputation, making themselves look important to others, can be divisive with the truth. The truth is to be spoken from love (Ephesians 4:15), but in such cases as these it is evident that love has nothing to do with what is preached. Some are obsessed with issues or people, and in the name of “sound doctrine” go about making charges and accusations that may or may not be true. In reality, truth has nothing to do with it, as much as seeking to hurt or destroy the person accused, for the sake of promoting oneself. Sinful motives can be hidden behind the façade of truth. This also stirs up division, and those who practice such things are also warped and sinful, being self-condemned. Satan must truly love this, as it keeps us fighting among ourselves, rather than reaching out to the lost with the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Balance is a hard thing to find and maintain. We are to love the brotherhood (1 Peter 2:17), and Paul tells us, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9). If we love the Lord and each other, this is what we will work hard to do. We will not divide brethren over personal issues or selfish motives. We will hate the sin, but never stop loving the sinner. We will stand for the truth and seek to build up the body of Christ, but never use the truth in a way that destroys the body for which Christ died. Let us seek to be fair and balanced, and remember we are brethren in Christ. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

[Editor's Note: By balance, we mean biblical balance, not compromise of the Holy Truth. Further, while standing firm in the Holy Truth of Gods Word, there is neither reason nor biblical justification for being unnecessarily harsh and ugly; the Holy Truth is offensive enough without Gods children making it any more offensive by the way we present it. The word balance should not be repulsive to Christians when it represents applying the Word of God in such a way that leans not to the left and leans not to the right of biblical center. ~ Louis Rushmore]

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