An issue has arisen in my sphere of influence that has caused me to question my involvement with a Christian group with which I have a lengthy history. This group seems to be in violation of a clear directive of Scripture. The difficulty for me is that the core of what God has called me to do is to equip believers not only to study the Word of God on their own but to also apply it to their lives and ministries.
Concurrent to this I am studying the Gospel of John, and reading D. A. Carson’s book on Jesus’ last discourse with the 12.
I was reading in Carson’s book this evening. He was working through Christ’s prayer in John 17, specifically Christ’s prayer for the unity of believers in John 17:20 – 24. Carson’ point is that while we are already unified in Christ, we have to work at perfecting that unity. That does not do his point justice but will do for the current purpose.
I struggled with his point.
What is the Right Course?
The group is ignoring a clear statement in Scripture. So that raises several questions for me. How do I maintain the unity of the Body, while standing strongly on the directives of the Word? At what point, if any, do I separate from that group on the basis of their settled disobedience. Is it even right to separate on that basis?
It Will Be Resolved
Eschatology informs me that all of us will eventually be unified in the Kingdom of God. Do I need to continue to engage knowing that this will be resolved in the Kingdom? Paul certainly called Peter out for not following the decrees of the Church in his hypocritical behavior in Galatia – should that be the model?
It was clear after working through these questions that I needed to dig into the Word in a specific area before I decide. It will not be an easy study. But we are not called to live an easy life, we are called to radical obedience.