A divided church…


Arrow signs on asphalt

Scripture: Acts 23:6 When Paul noticed that some (people on the council questioning him) were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dissension began between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge all three.) 9 Then a great clamor arose, and certain scribes of the Pharisees’ group stood up and contended, “We find nothing wrong with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 When the dissension became violent, the tribune, fearing that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered the soldiers to go down, take him by force, and bring him into the barracks.

Observation: Paul was clever to use a known point of contention among the Sadducees and the Pharisees (v.8) to sow division among the council members. And get himself out of a jam.

Application: People of shared Christian faith can generally be counted upon to find small points of division despite significant points of agreement. Happens in the church all the time.

I was chatting with a young couple the other day, one a former Roman Catholic and one a former Missouri-synod Lutheran. They recounted how, during their wedding service last spring, several family members took communion. Together. From a pastor who was neither Roman Catholic nor Missouri-synod Lutheran!

We Christians of various denominations (or non-denomination) generally agree on the vast majority of things, yet we tend to define ourselves by our differences. I’m pretty sure this makes Jesus very sad. Makes me sad.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, by your grace, make your church one as you are One with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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