The evil one is playing havoc in the church dividing the church over both political issues and matters having to do with Covid and our government’s responses to it. And we are playing right into the devil’s hands!
- A church divided has no witness to a lost world.
- A church divided is a church that has lost its first love.
- A church divided can neither worship the Lord nor honor Him in their gatherings.
- A church divided is distracted from our calling to become more like Jesus and demonstrate to the world the difference He makes in our lives.
- A church divided is a carnal church.
But don’t blame your church leadership! Instead, we must all look in the mirror.
The church in Corinth was a divided church. The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth to address these divisions and distractions. Please allow me to contextualize his words for our present-day situation:
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, I have been informed that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, ‘You must be vaccinated against covid’; another, ‘I refuse to be vaccinated against covid’; or some among you say, ‘I will not wear a mask’; while others in your assembly say, ‘You must wear a mask.’
Is Christ divided? Is vaccination or mask-wearing essential for salvation? Is Christ more pleased with someone who is vaccinated and wears a mask? Is He less pleased with someone who doesn’t? I thank God that such stipulations have nothing to do with our salvation or standing with Jesus Christ! Rather, our focus must be on the simple Gospel, for there are many around you who do not yet know the Savior, and I say this to your shame. Such quibbling and divisions seek to empty the power of the cross of Jesus Christ.
Regarding our response to covid and other political issues, we know that we all possess knowledge. But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.
So then, about covid vaccination and mask-wearing: These matters are matters of conscience. We all agree that covid exists and that it poses a threat to some, but it’s our response to covid that we disagree about, and this is a matter of conscience.
Masks or the vaccine do not bring us near to God. We are no worse if we do not wear a mask, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. And who are the ‘weak’? They are those who insist on forcing their opinions on others without respect for their conscience.
Stop sinning against each other and wounding each other. Don’t destroy the faith of your brother or sister by forcing your views on them. When you sin against them in this way and wound their conscience, you sin against Christ. So, enough of your bickering and divisions!”
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:7-11)
Quoted and adapted from portions of 1 Corinthians 1 and 8.
MarJean Peters says
Most excellent, dear Rob!! Thank you for rightly dividing the word of truth!
Patrick O. Schaffer says
Rob, I appreciate your views on this. I agree with them. Yes these issues (mask wearing and vaccinations) are potential points of friction in our churches. Personally I have had numerous discussions with folks in my church. However, I think these issues can be very healthy if approached from positions of respect and open-mindedness. The answers may be different for us individually, but churches, in their sacred mission, must come up with policy for church attendance/worship/education. etc. One that does NOT turn away seekers/members but also takes into account Romans 13. Hope I do not sound like a politician.
This pandemic has been revealing regarding just how much faith one has or has not. True reliance on Christ is where we all need to be. We can have that with or without vaccinations and masks.
Thanks Rob for providing some clarity
Lynda Parris says
Loved reading this Rob. My heart is breaking over temporal things dividing the church. Enjoyed your article!