Is Christ Divided?

3 Disclaimers

  • 1. I have no desire to steer you away from having political opinions.
  • 2. I have no desire to steer you toward having stronger political opinions.
  • 3. I have no desire to steer you to the left or to the right.

Week 1

If you are a Christian…

  • 1. Your allegiance is to Jesus.
  • 2. You are a citizen of the Kingdom of God
  • 3. In whatever earthly nation you live, you are a foreigner.

Week 2

“Christendom”

Christendom is where we considered ourselves "AS A NATION" to be Christian.

Never works - always results Christianity dying.

Kingdom of God - seperate - Kingdoms of the world.

When, instead of having 2 distinct kingdoms we make the mistake of trying to form one big one, it compromises them both.

The Kingdom of the world can't maintain Christ-like values (self-sacrificial love, turning the other cheek) and survive.

We can’t look to the ‘nation’ to be Christian.

It's not the nation that we want to 'turn the other cheek'. - It's the Christian people.

  • Do we want the military to turn the other cheek? I doubt it.
  • Do we want police to bless those who persecute us? No, that's for the church.

That's for YOU. And YOUR relationships, and YOUR posture.


So long as we feel that the government is being Christian for us, we don't feel the pressure be Christian ourselves.


Start - Reading from : OT, Gospels, The Epistles

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (Deuteronomy 6:4)

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, (John 17:20)

that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:21)

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. (1 Corinthians 1:10)

My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. (1 Corinthians 1:11)

What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:12)

Is Christ divided? (1 Corinthians 1:13)

Title: Is Christ Divided?

Interested statement, but it clears it up to remember that Paul was constantly referring to the community of Christians as "The Body of Christ".

We're the people who represent Christ to the world.

Paul wrote 14 of the 27 books that make up the New Testament

A theme you can see reappearing over and over - is unity among believers.

Quickly take your through his letters and show you:

To the church in : Rome :

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Corinth :

We are members of one body. And one part of his body can't say to another "We don't need you."

Galatia

There is Neither jew nor greek, neither slave nor free, not male not female, neither democrat nor republican.

Ephesus

Maintain the spirit of unity and the bond of peace.

Phillippi

Be of the same mind, having the same love."

Colossae (co-law-see)

Put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."

Thessalonica

"Be at peace among yourselves, and work to build up each other."

To his protege - the young timothy

"Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies on Facebook, b/c they bring contentiousness and quarrels."

Titus

"Avoid quarreling, but be gentle, and show courtesy to all people."


Is Christ divided?

Is the body of Christ divided?

While Paul is saying it SHOLDN'T BE.

The answer is YES.

Not only divided over politics.


Christian denominations

Think for a moment about Christian denominations. - Tribes.

We're not part of one. We're what's called a 'non-denominational' church - which in a way has become it's own denomination.

But let's just take 1. "The Church of God."

Began August 1886 in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Over 6 million members across 180 countries.

One of the largest pentecostal denominations in the world.

But to talk about the "Church of God", we have to acknowledge that there are MANY "churches of God"

List

  • Church of God - Cleveland Tennessee.
  • Church of God Chatanuga Tennessee
  • Church of God Anderson Indianna
  • Church of God Huntsville Alabama
  • Church of God in Christ
  • Church of God of Prophesy
  • Church of God 7th day
  • Church of God of the union assembly
  • Church of God mountain assembly
  • Church of God of the original mountain assembly
  • Church of God holiness
  • Church of God restoration
  • Christian Baptist Church of God
  • Church of God by Faith
  • Church of God with signs following
  • Fire baptized Holiness Church of God
  • Pentecostal Church of God
  • Pentecostal Church of God Detroit
  • Church of God All Nations
  • Church of God in Divine Order
  • The Apostolic, Overcoming Holy Church of God (AOHCOG)

This - just 21 denominations, all have their own churches.

How many total? Aprox 34,000

Thought about listing like 200 of them to make a point, but I started boring myself, so I thought I'd spare you.


Theological 'tribes'.

Not only denominations, it's about theological 'tribes'.

Many people don't even know if their church is part of a denomination or not, but they DEFINATELY know what tribe they're a part of.

Which churches to we agree with, and with churches do we NOT agree with.

A 'chief'

Tribes usually have a 'chief'

A theologian or a thinker who's the leader for them.

Example : Tribal divide - 'Calvinism'

One example : There is currently a tribal divide over what's called 'Calvinism'

2 Chiefs - 2 Johns

John Calvin - He has a tribe.
John Wesley - He has a tribe.

The people who would be in John Calvin's tribe most would call 'Neo-Calvinists'. There a resurgence of young people especially gathering in the tribe of John Calvin.

Other side - John Wesley - people who are NOT calvinists - different names

  • Wesleyans
  • Ana-Baptists - which are having a bit of an explosion themselves.

We have people from both sides represented in the room tonight.


Political Tribes.

Here's another example: Political Tribes.

One side : "The religious right."

On one side you have : "The religious right." "Christian conservativism"

Really exploded in the late 70's and early 80's.

It's characterized by a republican viewpoint with heavy emphasis on social coservativism.

Formed by many evangelical Protestants, Roman Catholics, ALSO (lesser degree) Mainline protestants, jews, and mormons.

Historically their main issues have been: School prayer, intelligent design, embryonic stem cell research, homosexuality, contraception, abortion, and pornography.


Other: The religious left.

The religious left is exploding right now.

It's what's scaring your parents (many of you).

The religious left tends to strongly emphasize Social Justice, equality.

Most historians would put Martin Luther King Jr here.

He claimed allegence to neither the republican or democratic party, but the religious right STRONGLY opposed him.

Because of his views on prayer in schools and Birth Control

While he was against abortion, he had a relationship with planned parenthood.

He was the first recipient of the "Margaret Sanger Award" given by planned parenthood.


30 years ago the protestant church (white) was heavily "religious right".

In the process of switching. And as more and more of the next generation taking over the church, in a lot of ways, the religious right is being replaced by the religious left. ESP with young people.

In Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, more than 80 percent of voters under 30 years old voted for Bernie Sanders

True amongst all measured demographics.

  • Denominational tribes
  • Theological tribes
  • Political tribes

Is - body of Christ divided?

YES

When Christian tribes fight - both sides HOLD UP THE BIBLE. "But MY bible says…."

It IS a problem. The tribal walls in Christianity are rebuilding the walls that Jesus himself tore down.

In brings in the incredibly destructive force of 'Us vs. Them'.

Where Christians from a different tribe are no longer my brothers, but my enemies.


Not wrong to be a part of a tribe. We're all in multiple tribes, but we must resist the temptation to build tribal walls between us and them.

It's not easy. It's not easy to be in unity with someone who sees something very differently than you do.

The solution is not 'tolerance' but 'understanding'.


“Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.” (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

  • A contemplative soul - can see things from many angles.
  • A hateful soul can see things one way.

Marriages

  • It's one of the reasons going on a missions trip is so enlightening, because you spend a few weeks with the suffering of another culture that previously you hadn't considered.
  • One of the reasons that sitting with the elderly is so important.
  • One of the reasons that playing with kids is important. It stops us from only seeing the world our 1 small and incomplete way.

Think about relationships that fall apart because people can't get along. One of the things those types of people need is the ability to see things from their spouses point of view.

If you're completely incapable of understanding the other side of an issue, then you probably don’t really understand the issue.

  • “The republicans are just rich, greedy, white guys.”
  • “The democrats are just lazy and want free stuff.”

You don’t understand the issue. You’re just parroting what somebody else said. And you treat your own side with such care, and nuance. And the other side you think can be summed up in one sentence.


Attempt the impossible

So what I'm going to do is I'm going to try to do the impossible- to get you to understand a viewpoint that's different than your own. "The Righteous Mind."

Tongue

Each taste receptor in each taste bud :

Each taste receptor in each taste bud can taste five different tastes : sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory (umami).

For the average person, the sweet receptor produces the most dopamine released in your brain.

So why don't people eat just tablespoon after tablespoon of nothing but sugar?

Well as it turns out taste is a very complex thing. Requiring a unique interaction with lots of these different receptors for taste.

Lots of people like sugar on their cereal, but hardly anyone would add straight sugar to their steak.

We all have the same taste receptors, but we don't all like the same foods.

Jesse - sweets.

Jesse doesn't care for sweets.

For as long as I can remember, I've made fun of him b/c he prefers vegetables dipped in ranch over cake.

Which is insanity.

  • I LOVE salt. - AJ hates salt.
  • Jordan LOVE sour candy. - I hate.
  • Holly LOVE Cilantro - David Goldman hates.

David Goldman hates Cilantro, my sister Holly would eat it 3 meals a day if she could.

Science has now shown us that it's not just preference, it's about our taste buds' ability to detect different molecules.

So people actually taste food differently.

It's the same 5 tastes, but they differ in how they're tasted.


Morally healthy people experience 6 moral 'tastes'.

In the same way, all morally healthy people experience 6 moral 'tastes'.

  • Care/Harm
  • Liberty/Oppression
  • Fairness/Cheating
  • Loyalty/Betrayal
  • Authority/Sabotage
  • Sanctity/Degradation

But we don't all experience those tastes the same.

Depending on which of those you 'taste' the most strongly, it will determine your political viewpoint.

Examples:

Some people would value liberty above all. They would likely be….'Libertarian'.

In surveys they found than people who tend to be more Republican value - Loyalty, Authority, and Sactity. Democrats tend to value - Care, Fairness (equality).


Moral Dilemma’s

Something fun - - raise hand.

Interesting moral questions - so we're going to do something fun, and we're going to have you raise your hand to see. (If you don't want to play, of course no pressure, just keep your hand down).

1. Break into pharmacy..

Is it morally wrong to break into a pharmacy to steal medicine for a dying child?

Democrats would tend to say "It's fine! Care for the Child."

Republicans would tend to say "It's WRONG. We have to respect the authority of the law.

2. Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden revealed government secrets exposing what many would consider illegal government activities. He had taken a vow to protect government secrets.

How many of you would say Edward Snowden did the right thing?

Wrong thing?

If you say "He did the right thing!" You would value LIBERTY.

If you say "He did the wrong thing!" You would value AUTHORITY. ALSO LOYALTY b/c he took an oath.


How you answer those questions has to do with which of those values you taste the most.

In these situations, it's not so much you reasoning, it's about how you FEEL.

"Not me! I'm an empiricist! I just care about the facts!"

That's nonsense.

Reasoning - servant - its master - passion.

Reasoning is a servant to its master which is passion.

Peoples reason will work really hard to serve your master which is what they feel strongly about. And even when they can't find the reason behind it, often times they just stop looking but they still are true to their passion.

People who DON'T feel, but ONLY reason - there's a word for them: Psychopaths.

  • Most Psychopaths aren't violent.
  • Approx 1% of people are psychopaths.

Can these change as you grow up? They always do. In fact, when you're young, you tend to just agree with your parents, and you don't even have an opportunity to feel what you feel.

Moral Dilemma questions cont:

3. Bank / orphanage

You are an eyewitness to a crime: A man has robbed a bank, but instead of keeping the money for himself, he donates it to a poor orphanage that can now afford to feed, clothe, and care for its children. You know who committed the crime. If you go to the authorities with the information, there’s a good chance the money will be returned to the bank, leaving a lot of kids in need. What do you do?

  • "LET THE ORPHANAGE KEEP THE MONEY!" - Care.
  • "TURN HIM IN! BROKE - LAW!" - AUTHORITY.

4. Brother

You have a brother. You know that someone has been mildly injured as a result of criminal activity undertaken by him. You live in a country where the police and legal system are generally trustworthy. Are you morally obliged to inform them about your brother's crime?

  • No! Loyalty.
  • Yes! - Authority

5. Train tracks

You are near train tracks. There are 5 people tried to the track and the train is coming. You don't have time to to untie them. Your only opportunity is to pull a level that will divert the train and save the 5 people. But if you divert the train, one unsuspecting man standing on the tracks will die.

Fat Man variant

Philosophers have long disagreed on whether not it's OK to hurt a smaller group of people to help a larger group of people.

If you are ok with killing the 1 man to save the 5, you're what is called a 'Utilitarian'.

Utilitarianism is the belief that you should always bring about the greatest good even if a few people get hurt along the way.

Baby Hitler. - Save 11 million.

Another example of this one is 'If you could go back in time, would you kill Hitler before the holocast.

Save 11 million lives.

Again, it doesn't have so much to do with how you think as it does how you FEEL about morality.


Me personally 1 person - never vote.

So for me personally in this election, there is one person that I personally would never vote for a billion years.

So do I say to myself "Whoever would vote for that person obviously doesn't care about morality!!!"

I say "They obviously taste things differently than I do."

Can both sides be abused? Absolutely. And are there good, godly people on both sides? Absolutely.


My point : All sides - strengths / weaknesses.

Here's my point, all sides have strengths and all sides have weaknesses.

"Not mine! Mine's perfect!"

Jesus it's easy to see the speck in somebody elses eye but not the plank in your own eye.


When - “understand” - hate leaves.

When you understand the other side, even when you don't agree with them, hate leaves the building automatically.

Statements like 'I'm fighting for what's right!!!" are replaced with statements like "This is how I see it."

The we stop feeling the need to villianize the other side.


THERE IS HOPE.

The hope is not that someday we'll all agree on everything.

The hope is in how we relate to each other.

In order for that to happen I think we have to understand each other.

Not AGREE, but UNDERSTAND


Practical Tips on how to get along.

1. Repent of our tendency to think we're always right.

2. Stop making jokes about other tribes.

I don't even need to comment on that. I think we all know that's wrong. - We're not talking about agreeing, we're talking about understanding them. And treating people with dignity.

It doesn't matter how passionately you disagree with someone, that person is still made in the image of God. And that demands our respect.

3. Take time to talk to and actually listen to people from other tribes.

My BEST FRIENDS in the whole world are from COMPLETELY opposite sides politically. And about a year ago, I just decided that I was going to open my heart to the way they saw the world. And I honestly wanted to know how they saw things. At the end of it, my political views haven't really changed, but my heart has. I've begun to understand both sides and I no longer consider either of them EVIL. Or less committed to Jesus.

4. Make Jesus the big thing.

Reestablish the centrality of Jesus and the Cross.

We're the body, he's the head.

And we seek his example in how we live our lives and how we treat each other.

Simon and Matthew - Tax Collector / Zealot

And I can imagine Jesus coming before his fractured church in America - and saying "You over there in that tribe and you over there in that tribe - LOVE ONE ANOTHER." A new command I give to you. Love one another.


Close

At the end of the day, only love is real.

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, (Matthew 25:42)

I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ (Matthew 25:43)

When? "Least"


If those examples are to be believed, then it seems to a certain degree, we're not judged based on how right we believe, but how we loved

Fake religion says "As long as we believe right, we can get away with loving people wrong." But only love is real.


QUOTE Hans Urs von Balthasar - Roman Catholic Theologian

"Love alone is credible; nothing else can be believed, and nothing else ought to be believed." (Urs von Balthasar)

Back to 1 Corinthians 13 - Paul says if you get everything else right, but get love wrong, you get nothing.

You get big fat ZERO on your report card.

You get everything else right

  • All your beliefs
  • All your miracles
  • All your living
  • All your faith
  • All your opinions

And you don't love… ZERO. But if you love, you'll be fine. Love covers and multitude of of sins, you know.

“Love and do what you will.” (Augustine)

Jesus to Judas in the garden, "Friend" - If he does that, do you think we can be a little nicer to people we disagree with?

As we prepare for communion

The only chance we have to make this a possibility is we love because he first loved us.

Our love is a response to His love.

It's amazing the kids can do this. When you're a child, you imitate. And eventually becomes the way that you are too.

If you need a place to look, look to the cross. And then you imitate it.

"Father forgive them".

We do our worst, and he simply responds with father forgive them.

As they pass - spend a minute asking God - "Where does my love need to grow?

(Pass)

1 Corinthians 13 - NLT

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2)

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:3)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud (1 Corinthians 13:4)

or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. (1 Corinthians 13:5)

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. (1 Corinthians 13:6)

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:7)

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! (1 Corinthians 13:8)