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From the Pastor’s Pen:
“Division, distrust, discord”

Zachery Byrd

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“If a kingdom
is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house
is divided against itself, that house
will not be
able to stand.”
(Mark 3:24-25)

Division, distrust, discord - all these words permeate our times as sugar does sweet tea. If trust is the currency backing the fundamental relationships in life, we are bankrupt. In this, we should not be surprised. The first sin outside of the Garden was that of brother against brother, of division, distrust, and discord. Sin has turned man against man, and all men against God. The fall of every worldly kingdom can be traced to this very point, and that should be a warning to every American today. But what of every Christian?

These dastardly words should have no place within the fellowship of the saints. When the New Testament uses the word “church,” it can refer to a church local (“the church in Antioch”) or to the church collective. What Paul sees when he looks at the church is that for which Jesus Himself prayed - unity. He sees a church held together by the bonds of peace and the unity of the Spirit, serving one Lord, standing for one faith, proclaiming one gospel in a multitude of places. Over and over, the New Testament epistles stress the issue of unity - be it through conflict resolution, church discipline, or gospel advancement. They stress unity because “a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.”

If I had to diagnose our generation’s sin problem (for each generation has some particular sin which rises above the others), I would diagnose it as partisanship. I would color it with those three devastating words - division, distrust, discord. Are there times for division? Yes. J.C. Ryle says: “Nothing justifies separation from a church except that church’s separation from the gospel.” But those divisions are few and far between. Instead, we see partisanship in one-up-manship, in gossiping over another church’s problem, in seeking transfer growth instead of conversions.And yet, is this the picture we find in the gospel? My own Confession teaches that there are other sheep not of the Presbyterian fold which faithfully preach the gospel, that the “Big-C Church” is far larger than our “little-c churches.”

The question is this - are we promoting unity or division? Trust or distrust? Accord or discord? Are we praying for the gospel to be faithfully proclaimed in all of Christ’s Church? Are we asking about their officers? Their growth? Their hurts? Their opportunities? Are we seeking to promote Christ’s Church wherever it is found, or are we trying to market our country club as the best in town?

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