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A Winnable War We Must Not Ignore.

by Larry Cory



     A Silent War in the church can be caused by what can be called "the onlys."  Good can become bad when it is followed by an "only."  The most obvious example of this is the "King James Only" movement.  The King James translation of the Bible is a masterpiece of beautiful English.  But, is it the only acceptable translation?  As soon as we Christians put an "only" behind some part of the Christian world where an "only" is not appropriate, we start a war between Christians.
     So often, we present two options as either-or rather than as both-and.  Let's look at examples of what happens when we put an "only" behind various facets of the Christian life: small groups only, evangelism only, discipleship only, young people only, Calvinism only, old hymns only, NIV only, verse by verse preaching only, organ and piano music only, and the list can go on and on.
     All these facets of the Christian life are okay when the "only" is removed, but they can create a war when an "only" is put behind them.  Why?  Because the "only" Christians can begin to have the goal of eradicating all other emphases of the church so that what they are championing is the "only" emphasis.
     This can occur without our even realizing it.  Here is an example of how it can develop between sincere and enthusiastic Christians:  Someone is very enthusiastic about a ministry he or she believes that God is leading them in.  Someone can think that this person sees their ministry as the "only" important ministry in the church.  So, they seek to eradicate or minimize that person's ministry so that their own personal ministry can become the most important ministry in the church.
     What is the solution?  It is not either-or.  Both ministries are very important.  We should see the church as being like the human body.  Every part of the human body is important and essential.  We should be able to get excited and enthusiastic about everybody's ministry in the Body of Christ. 
     It appears that the church of Corinth had a similar problem as "the onlys."  There were the "only" eye people and the "only" foot people.  "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don’t need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don’t need you!'" (1 Corinthians 12:12-21)
     Now, it is important to realize that when Paul used the human body to symbolize the church, he was not just referring to a local church, but he was referring to the church in the city of Corinth.  So, it is possible for a church to make some aspect of the ministry their main emphasis, without seeing that their ministry emphasis as the "only" important ministry in the city.  Individual churches have limited resources and limited number of people who can engage in ministry.  So, each church may need to limit their number of ministry emphases.  For example, one church can reach out to those struggling with addictions, another church can focus on the college campus, and another church can emphasize a certain geographical area.  If all three churches can keep pride out of it, they can be functioning together like the human body—different parts with different functions working together for a common purpose.
     Also, we can work together in helping each other.  For example, an adult ministry can emphasize child-rearing as an important part of their ministry, thereby helping the children's ministry to be more effective.  It is essential that a church have a vision that unifies all of the ministries.  This will result in the church functioning like the human body functions—every part being important and each part being part of the unifying goal.
     Another "only" can be even more destructive.  It is when we say my way "only."  It can be about anything in the church.  It occurs when we say that our way is the "only" way that something can be done.  When this occurs, others no longer have any choice.  Everyone has to do it our way.  We should be giving each other the freedom to minister in our unique ways, unless someone is going against something that is clearly taught in the Bible.  When someone's way is clearly not God's way, then leaders need to step in and correct this error.  But, if we do not like what someone else does because it is different than our way of doing things; then, we are demanding that others be like us.  We are demanding uniformity rather than diversity.
     Again, what is the solution?  It should not be "our way or the highway."  We should not demand that everyone does it our way.  We should allow for Christians with different gifting to express their unique ways of doing things.  My wife loves to use art to minister to others.  That is not my gift.  But, we can function together as different parts of the Body of Christ.  Her ministry is most often in the areas of mercy, my ministry is most often in the area of teaching.  There is room for all of us with all of our ministries in the Church of Jesus Christ.  It is His way that we should be seeking to follow, rather than demanding that others do it "our" way.

The Silent War In The Church

Table of Contents and Brief Intro Table of Contents
Introduction Introduction
The Silent War Inside our Churches - Part 1 Part 1a
The Silent War Inside our Churches - Part 2 Part 1b
The Silent War between Churches Part 2
The Silent War with Satan and his Demons Part 3
The Silent War can be Won by God's Love in us Part 4
The Silent War can be like the Wars in the World Part 5
The Silent War between a False and Coerced Unity and a True Unity Part 6
An Essential Requirement Needed for Ending the Silent War Between Christians Part 7
The Silent War Caused by Turning the Church into the Kingdom of Man and not the Kingdom of God Part 8
The Silent War inside of Each Christian Part 9
The Silent War in the Church with the World Part 10
The Silent War Over Divisive Issues Part 11
The Silent War caused by a Mysterious Invading Army Part 12
The Silent War Caused by Seeking Worldly Success Part 13
The Silent War Always Results in Persecution Part 14
The Silent War Caused when Godly People Divide Part 15
The Silent War Caused when Godly People Cause Divisions Part 16
The Silent War Caused by the Church or a Church Dividing over an Important Issue Part 17
When the Church is Winning - Part 1 Part 18a
When the Church is Winning - Part 2 Part 18a
The Bible's Description of Victorious Soldiers in the Silent War Part 19
How Victory in the Silent War can Lead to Revival in the Church Part 20
Conclusion Conclusion
Addendum: The Silent War caused by "the onlys" "The Onlys"
Addendum: A Pastor's Authority by Ray Stedman A Pastor's Authority
Addendum: Galatians 6:1-3 (my commentary on these verses) Galatians 6:1-3
Addendum: John Wesley's sermon at George Whitefield's funeral George Whitefield