The greatest is unity. In all your getting get unity! Don’t disrupt the unity. Stop being a trouble-maker and stay in unity.
This message is heralded in Charismatic circles more and more these days, whenever someone tries to quote a scripture that is contrary to a sacred and revered statement that has come from the pulpit. When someone said to me at Church recently, “We need to observe the Jewish Festivals and Holy Days in order to really understand God” I quoted Colossians 2…
…stating that the fulness of all the Festivals and Holy Days are found is Christ: Christ IS our Sabbath. Christ IS our Passover. Christ IS our Pentecost, etc.
The immediate response? “Well, the greatest is LOVE, so you need to learn to walk in love and accept everybody.”
There was no dialogue about the Scripture. There was no question or answer period to enlighten me regarding their position or to question the Scripture that I quoted. I was just put in place with: Keep quiet and keep the unity.
But is such a statement Biblically correct? Should we all “just get along”, love each other and over-look someone’s doctrine that we may not agree with? Or could God actually be a little more concerned with doctrine than what most Pentecostals/Charismatics currently think and are taught? And what if trying to point people back to Scripture is actually the truest act of love?
1 Corinthians 4 teaches:
6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.
“Don’t go beyond what is written”, Paul wrote to the Corinthians. Yet there are just SO many new revelations and doctrines, ways to worship, ways to get prayers answered, ways to get blessed and receive wealth, being taught in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Church today that it can be dizzying trying to keep up with it all.
Books teach us about the character of God which has previously been hidden from our understanding showing that God is nothing but love and will not send people to hell, new teachings on how to get God to reveal Himself and hidden mysteries to us through trances and soaking, new ways to get freedom from inner hurts and sins by miraculously speedy methods that will truly set us free in a way that we have never been before! Sheesh. I guess the Old Bible doctrines and “Truths” just really never worked for anybody before, since this generation needs all these new revelations.
But I digress. My post is about UNITY. Should Bible lovers, Bible readers, people who know that the Word does not agree with or teach these new ways … should such people just “shut up” for the sake of unity in their churches? Should such people never challenge their friends or Pastors when these friends or Pastors are all excited about the newest revelation or “sign and wonder” they’ve just experienced at a conference or meeting?
Jude 1:3 states NO. We should not shut up and put up, all in the name of UNITY:
Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. (NLT)
Jude … the half brother of Jesus, I might add … is URGING the people of his time to DEFEND the pure Gospel as proclaimed by Christ and the Apostles.
Paul even wrote that we should:
…watch out for those who cause division and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; (and) avoid them. (Romans 16:17, ESV)
What … no unity or love, Paul? And to Timothy, Paul wrote:
If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5, NIV)
In the above two verses Paul shows that it is the people who are promoting and speaking the FALSE TEACHINGS that are the actual perpetrators of STRIFE and DIVISION. How? By corrupting their hearers who then cause divisions in the Body as they try to continue the spread of the false teachings.
Paul is so confident in our staying separate from false teachings and habitual sin, that he repeats to the Thessalonian Church what he told the Roman Church in the above Romans 16 verse:
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us … If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. (1 Thessalonians 3:6,14,15, NIV)
This is heavy duty and absolutely contrary to what gets pushed from the pulpits today. There is no mention of embracing everybody for the sake of peace and unity in the New Testament, but rather taking note of those who are not following the doctrine taught by the Apostles.
Why was the early Church SO HARSH and so adamant about removing false doctrines and ungodly lifestyles from their midst?
Because a little sin, a little false doctrine … even just a little teeny bit … works its way into the entire population of the Body. As we embrace the sins and the false doctrines in the name of loving the one who is duped, our guard lowers and we start to become desensitized to the sinfulness of the sin or the gravity and error of the false doctrine, and eventually it is allowed into our thinking as being “not so bad”, and then the final outcome is that it changes us and our thinking and our belief system.
Most especially confusing is when we know someone personally who lives in blatant sin or who embraces doctrine which is blatantly opposed to Bible teaching, yet can prophesy (fortune tell?) or lays hands on someone and a healing occurs, or who gets dreams, visions, and frequent conversations with God, etc., or who just seemingly is “so in love with the Lord” and fills the room with their joyful personality.
“Do not be deceived” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Corinthians 15:33, Ephesians 5:6, Galatians 6:7, 1 John 3:7) or as Jesus said, “Watch that no man deceive you” (Matthew 24:4, Mark 13:5)!
A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough (Galatians 5:9, NASB)
You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. … Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. (1 Corinthians 5:2,6,7, NASB)
Why is it considered arrogant and boastful to not cleanse wickedness, sin, and/or false doctrine from our midst? Because we are thumbing our noses at the Lord by insinuating either:
1 – we don’t believe God’s Words of being separate from the world really mean what they say, which is arrogantly calling God a liar or
2 – we believe that we are stronger spiritually than what the Lord tells us we are, and we think we can hang around sin and false doctrine and not be duped or fall into temptation ourselves.
Both / either of these attitudes shows arrogance against God and His Word.
So the next time you are accused of not keeping “peace” in the Body as you bring up a Scripture that shows a teaching or lifestyle is false in somebody you love in your Church … somebody whom you want to see free as being your motive versus quarreling and arguing over the Word for knowledge sake … remember these few Scriptures that I have posted here. And search the New Testament for the other verses, as there are more.
|1 Timothy 4 (NIV):
|1 Peter 3 (NIV):