Editor: Here is a new article in our Food for Thought section that I felt we should be aware of.
While the desire for UNITY is one of the More Frequently Addressed Themes among Believers, Many within our Ministry of the recent past has done as much to Further Division as to Promote it. WHAT is the Remedy?
© Rich Traver 81520-1411 9-21-13 [ 223 ] www.goldensheaves.org
A Church of God organization, founded upon the objective of organizational unity, even using the word “United” in its organizational name, came to a point recently where it found itself unable to continue “walking together” with certain political factions within its own leadership. It found itself needing to “amicably separate” (or to attempt to do so amicably) after a decade and a half of working together. In a frank and rather insightful message that was sent out to be heard in all the congregations, an assessment was offered that, “Ours’ is a minister-caused problem!” 1
As an attendee of one of those sessions, I saw his admission as being very apropos, and I expect, it was a cause for many in the ministry to cringe. But, in fact, he was exactly correct. It was, and it is, no new thing. For that matter, which of our “problems” in the recent past were fundamentally NOT “minister caused problems”?
Those with a long history in the Church will recall many “crises” over the years: A prominent minister being expelled for philandering, certain scholarly types being disfellowshipped for their extra-organizational associations or perhaps for taking issue with certain doctrinal positions. Then, as a new administration ventured far afield of our fundamental doctrinal parameters, serious internal dissent formed (some of it quietly, some not) we became divided internally, which caused many to sever their relationships and go form new organizations. As time progressed, we became wonderfully divided. But none of these “splits”, as they are called, were uprisings or disaffections that originated among the membership. For the most part, they all were “minister caused problems!”
So, how do we comprehend this situation? What is our solution to it, if one is possible? Is a solution even within our purview? What an audacious idea! One that would be slapped-down immediately should any minister get wind of it. Correct a minister? That’s a real good way to be shown the door!