Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Politics in the church

"Politics" within the circle of believers has been around since Adam met Eve.

Think about it - when the Fall occurred - Adam was quick to blame Eve who in turn blamed someone else.

If any pastor of a rebellious church ever feels alone. He should re-read the life of the ancients again - like Moses for example.

Imagine abandoning a life of prestige and wealth to go rescue a group of people only to find them - time and time and time again - threatening to kill you or deliberately disobeying you. Even God Himself lost patience with them.

And it took poor Moses to persuade God Himself to reconsider. Exodus 32.

9 "I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation." 11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. "O LORD," he said, "why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 ... 14 Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Even within the Early Church there were causes of discontent. There were two distinct groups in the church - one who wanted to reach out to Jews; the other who wanted to preach the Good News to the Gentiles. The first group led by James wanted the Gentiles to incorporate Jewish laws and tradition. This caused a great deal of conflict.

The Apostle Peter also seemed to have lost the plot at one stage. Even though God revealed to Him the Vision at Joppa. Acts 10:9 - 38; Acts 11:1. Later, he changed his mind. Galatians 2:11-13.

11When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

I find it amazing that even after the miraculous conversion of Cornelius which occurred with the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit, some of the Jewish believers, ie. James, still clung strongly to the Jewish Law.

Reading through Acts, Galatians, etc.. you get the feeling that the Apostle Paul was a forthright person - a straight talker and this tended to irritate fellow believers.

Paul eventually separated from Barnabas. Acts 15:39. But perhaps came to regret it. 2 Timothy 4:11. And in Colossians 4:10.

Disagreements. Conflict. All this from people who experienced the power of The Divine first hand.

Worth remembering whenever we ourselves face similar problems.

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