It is no question that we are living in a fragmented world. Even though we’re more technologically advanced, globalized, and seemingly more tolerant and open-minded than ever before, it seems as though there are more things that are dividing us and more disagreements in our world than ever before, too. The church is not exempt from this, and sadly, it can be even worse in a lot of ways. So how do we handle so many disagreements within the church and tensions between the church world and the broader culture we live in? I think there are three things to consider that can help guide us to these sorts of questions.
1. This isn’t anything new.
It is not as if we are the only generation of the church in its 2,000+ years of existence that has experienced disagreements and division. In fact, church history is pretty ripe with it, even down to the very beginning of the church itself. In Acts 15 we read about the first “council” that the church ever held in Jerusalem. What were they meeting about? A bunch of the leaders of the early church came together to discuss the inclusion of Gentiles within the various communities. As many are familiar, the earliest “Christians” were Jewish, and Jewish culture was a lot different from a lot of the surrounding cultures of the day in the first century. Gentiles, or non-Jews, led a very different lifestyle, and issues such as diet restrictions, circumcision and other issues surfaced that the early Christians had to discuss. They came to a conclusion that was mutually beneficial and inclusive. So, these issues we’re having today aren’t that new after all; however, that doesn’t mean we respond with such an inclusive acceptance all the time. What happens in these instances?
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Source: Church Leaders