Proverbs 6:16-19 says:
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him;
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
Searching the Scriptures offers no alternative view; God hates division–division among believers is not of God. And yet, there are entire ministries built around proclaiming the rightness of their particular creed or theological distinctives over all other believing groups. Not heretical differences, mind you. Differences in man made constructs that they proclaim to the “the gospel” and that cause them to divide fellowship among believers based upon their need to defend these creeds to the death. One wonders why there is not as much time spent in this passage as there is defending Romans 9 or Acts 2.
Pastor Anderson continues his call to Gracism among believers by confronting us further with Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12 where he uses the analogy of the body to describe the proper integration of the Church. Paul writes “God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” As with the other sayings of the Gracist, Anderson simply gives us the simple call: No Division. No division based on ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, genders or ministries. None.
Praying together holds the keys to this and every other issue facing the Church. Anderson points us helpfully to three passages that guide our prayers in this new light. Each brings us humbly to the realization of our need for inclusiveness and togetherness. The first is the Lord’s Prayer in Mat 6:9-13 which begins Our Father. It identifies our familial relationships and the common bonds created by the Holy Spirit. No one with the Holy Spirit indwelling them stands alone or apart, we must all be as one. In John 17, Jesus’ lengthiest prayer, he prays that there might be unity among believers in the same degree to which there is unity among the Trinity. Finally, in an interesting perspective on the brief, intense prayers in Gethsemane before His crucifixion, Jesus maintains his unity of will for the Father’s purpose despite being divided in His human emotions about the upcoming agony that faced Him.
You and I must commit to standing with those who are not being included in the Body. We must commit to saying “I will stand with you.” This may mean that we sometimes take the hard road and Stand Up for people in order to stand with them. Our goal is not to simply protect them, though that may be necessary, but to lift them up and make them equal and better in our company. As David says “The principle is the smae. Stand up for the needy. Speak up for the voiceless. Rise up for those whose wings are clipped. Stand!”