Church Wars

Awkward…

Why do church people fight so much? 

Great question… the answer is quite simple and is the same answer behind most conflict in every relationship you have…

James was the brother of Jesus and writes a letter to straighten up some church people infighting about everything. Around Venue we tend to think that infighting is natural if you haven’t fought the enemy in awhile, but James narrows our focus and makes us look in the last place we would think to…

infighting is natural if..

James 4:1 
“Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. 
They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves.”

I know when you’re scrapping with your spouse your entire argument (like mine) is based on the assumption that they are wrong and I am right. This flows into business, family, and yes…. church.

What gives James the right to say this? 
He didn’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God until after His resurrection. This means that he lived in the same house as the Son of God and refused to acknowledge Him as Lord the entire time. Talk about having to live with regret..

He can point the finger at you and I because he first pointed the finger at himself. 

In Acts 15 we find an argument that could have split the early church. I won’t tell you the details but let’s just say there were strong people with strong convictions on either side of the issue. Paul the Apostle was one. Peter was another.

After this argument, the Gospel was launched by the people in this very room, reaching most of the known world at the time. The carriers were people on both sides of the issue. They came with opinions and left with one mandate. God blessed the unity and showed up with power!

Here is their secret (you won’t find this true in Canadian culture so don’t bother pointing that out):

1. They decided up front who was in charge.

     How this happened we don’t know, but God must have spoken and they obeyed and put James the Less (ironic name, but he wasn’t one of the original apostles) in charge of the Jerusalem church and matters of doctrine. If James was the pastor of Jerusalem then even Paul and Peter would have seen him as their pastor? Powerful. 

2. They bought into an authority structure BEFORE conflict erupted.

     This is a personal decision that you make and cannot be based on how you feel or what you think during troubled times, your emotions will twist your opinions into God’s opinions and look-out when that happens!

If we won't buy into an authority structure..

3. There is a time for opinions and a time for decisions.

     Even the mighty Paul, whose deeds surely surpassed the lowly James in his lifetime, submitted his thinking to the one God had ordained over him. Please do not make the mistake of thinking that Paul would have left and done his own thing if the decision hadn’t gone his way. Rather understand that what gave God the go-ahead to pour out revelation and responsibility to Paul was his decision to sit there and listen to James like everyone else in the room when he said “Here’s MY decision”. 

Canadian families, businesses, classrooms, friendships and churches have been stunted because of our failure to understand that the level of our own authority only stems from the depth of our own submission to the people God has placed over us.

Time to change the rules you’re playing by?

 

Corey Kope

Pastor. Father of 4 beauties. Devoted husband, Liverpool fan, and Jesus follower.

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