An angle that few if any seem to take is to examine the issue from the perspective of overall church unity. It just so happens that I am guiding my church through 1 Corinthians in this modern situational context; so church unity is obviously on the brain. Two questions emerge: (1) Can you have spiritual unity without political unity? and (2) What does preserving spiritual unity look like in such a politically divisive age?
There is a definite time to stand up for what is right - especially when the Gospel itself is at stake. There are other times that God calls us to be peacemakers and to diffuse volatile situations. Thankfully, there is biblical help for approaching these situations. We certainly need God's wisdom and discernment to recognize the best response in each case. In the New Testament, few churches had faced such bitter division as did the Corinthians. Here are a few tips from 1 Corinthians Chapter 1 - Paul's prescription for restoring unity in Corinth that give valuable insight for conflicts we face today.
In one of those chats where you sit and talk with your wife about your day, my wife and I were discussing a common phenomenon in every church - namely, that people vote with their checkbook, their money. You and I would readily agree that legalism hurts and kills a church. But something that had never before occurred to me was this particular connection between legalism and the church's cash flow and what that connection means for leading a church.
As I was working through Mark 14 for my sermon series, I came across the place where Jesus tells His disciples they will all be offended because of Him that night (14:27). He says this reality is in fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy (13:7), "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered." It occurred to me that there is a principle in this prophecy that we have probably all seen play out in various situations. Protecting ourselves and our ministries through prayer can help us guard against this principle playing out in our lives. Jesus was fulfilling Scripture of course, but no such prophecy exists for you and me. So, it serves us well to guard against this principle. How can we do that?
Pastor Billy Shaw is a full-time pastor, husband, and father with a passion for helping other pastors.