Can genuinely godly people divide from each other? Please explain your answer.
My answer to discussion question #1 Part 15
Paul and Barnabas were godly Christian leaders who had a sharp disagreement with each other. If they divided from each other (see Acts 15:36-39), godly Christians today can also divide from each other.
Discussion question #2 on The Silent War in the Church Part 15
When godly Christians divide from each other, what should they do about it?
My answer to discussion question #2 Part 15
Every attempt should be made to reconcile with each other. Paul and Barnabas divided from each other over whether or not Mark would be useful in the ministry after he abandoned them on their first missionary journal. In Paul’s last letter, II Timothy, Paul says these words: “Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful in my ministry.” (II Tim. 4:11). It was also the same Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark. So, God also found him useful in the ministry.
Discussion question #3 on The Silent War in the Church Part 15
What is it that godly people can divide over?
My answer discussion question #3 Part 15
In our vision of God’s work, we can be so focused on what is our area of ministry or on what is our area of spiritual-giftedness that we do not clearly see others’ vision of ministry or their area of spiritual-giftedness as being valid. And, so, godly Christians, like Paul and Barnabas, can also have sharp disagreements with each other. They should later, however, recognize their tunnel vision and accept others’ vision of ministry as also being valuable.
Why is it that everyone who seeks to live a godly life will be persecuted?
My answer to discussion question #1 Part 14
The person who wholeheartedly seeks to live a godly life will be a threat to the majority of people who are seeking some type of selfish goals. Eventually, there will be a clash. Paul had these clashes. Why do we think that it will be any different for us?
Discussion question #2 on The Silent War in the Church Part 14
If we know that it will always lead to persecution, why should we want to live a godly life?
My answer to discussion question #2 Part 14
There are basically two directions we can choose to focus on in our lives: on some type of ungodliness or on godliness. Godliness leads to a closer walk with God and to eternal rewards; and ungodliness leads away from God and to a loss of rewards as well as to God’s judgment. The choice is clearly and completely in favor of choosing godliness, though it will not be easy.
What is the evidence or evidences that a church is truly successful?
My answer to discussion question #2 Part 13
The first evidence that a church is truly successful is when there is growth in loving relationships as a result of that church’s ministry–growth in loving relationships with each other, growth in love toward those outside of the church, and growth in a loving relationship with God. The second evidence that a church is truly successful is that there will be growth in personal holiness in the people in the church.
When is a church truly successful?
My answer to discussion question #1 Part 13
A church’s success is not determined by growth in attendance, but by growth in the number of disciples and the presence of spiritual growth in their lives. Dynamic men can build church attendance, but only a dependence on God can build spiritual empowerment in people’s lives.
What are we to do when it is likely that there are non-Christians in the church who have different goals for the church and churches than are described in the Bible?
My answer to discussion question #3 Part 12
We need to realize that it is likely that there will be opposition to God’s goals for the church, so we need to persevere in God’s way as we pursue after His goals for His church–even as we encounter strong opposition (II Tim 4:2-5).
Do non-Christians have a similar effect on churches today?
My answer to discussion question #2 Part 12
If non-Christians created divisions in the early church, we can be certain they are causing divisions in the church today. Certainly, they are behind divisions in the church called cults, liberal churches; Roman Catholicism; emerging churches; and other divisions in the evangelical church and churches today.
According to the apostles Paul, Peter, and John, how significant a part do non-Christians have on creating divisions in the church or in churches?
My answer to question #1 Part 12
They can “cause divisions” (Rom. 16:17-18); they may start cults (I Jn. 2:18-19); and they can “distort the truth” (Acts 20:29-31)
Which issues among the following list of issues should we divide over and which issues can we disagree without dividing over? Here are the issues: the end times, the inspiration of the Bible, Calvinism, salvation by grace, the age of the universe, the resurrection of Jesus, the role of women in the church, who makes the final decisions in the church (congregation, pastor, etc.), the charismatic movement, the Trinity, the unique authority of the Bible, how the Bible is interpreted, music, baptism, plus other issues.
My answer to question #2 on The Silent War in the Church Part 11
The issues, I believe that we need to divide over are the following: the inspiration of the Bible, salvation by grace, the resurrection of Jesus, the Trinity, the unique authority of the Bible, and how the Bible is interpreted. There are the bedrock issues that determine whether or not someone is a Christian and whether the Bible is our authority for becoming a Christian and living the Christian life. On the other issues, we should seek to come to agreement through loving discussion and seeking to be open to truly listening to each other. (James 3:17-18) But, if we are unable to come to agreement, I believe that we need not divide from other Christians over disagreements on these issues. Spiritual maturation may lead to greater agreement on these issues as Spirit-filled Christians truly listen to each other. I recognize that other Christians may draw the line in a different place.
What areas in church teaching can we disagree over but not divide over?
My answer to discussion question #1 Part 11
There are many disputable subjects that Christians can disagree about. But there are also issues that are disagreements on the bedrock issues that determine whether or not we are Christians. When we disagree on some subject, should we stay united but disagree or should we divide over that issue? Where we draw the line determines whether we are separating from other Christians or separating ourselves from non-Christians and their beliefs.
How do we fight The Silent War in the Church against the world?
My answer to discussion question #2 Part 10
We do not use the weapons the world fights with such as malice, lies, distortion, slander, governmental power struggles, and even murder. Rather, we are to fight with godly weapons such as truth, love, prayer, kindness, service, and even personal sacrifice. We also are to do all we can in God’s strength to prevent the world from seeping into the church. (Rom. 12:1-2; I Jn. 2:15-17, 5:3-4)