Sunday, April 8, 2018

Unity in the Lord

Differences of opinion arise and may result in conflict.  However, Christians bickering with one another provide a poor example of Christ's love for the world.  The Apostle Paul was made aware of conflict within the church at Philippi.  He addresses the issue.
Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.  --Philippians 4:1-4 (KJV)
There is no hint as to the conflict between Syntyche and Euodias but we know it was creating a problem within the church.  Paul says, "Please!  Unity in Christ Jesus!"   Whether the dispute was between these two women differing with one another or, as some have suggested, these two women creating turmoil by disagreement with church polity or policy we are, again, uncertain.  What we do know is that Euodias and Syntyche were leaders, perhaps even ordained in the church.  Their voices and their examples bore weight within the community.  Paul pleads for unity and he asks for help of those who are yoked together with him in Christ in resolving the differences posed by these strong women in the church.

No less should we be careful, no matter how our opinions might differ, to present a united front in the presentation of the true gospel, the love of God and Christ crucified for the remission of our sins, eschewing conflicts, no matter how minor, which might hinder the work with which we are charged!
Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. --Romans 15:33 (KJV)
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Vee said...

The bickering is tiring and doesn't stay within the confines of church walls. However, it's not new and was happening even during my childhood. I have wondered if this is the reason many of my church friends did not go to church once they were away from home.

vanilla said...

Vee, as I said, it is a poor witness to the gospel. Yes, many people turned away from the church because of just such things, I fear. The problem there was two-fold: 1) Christians who follow Christ in a limited scope (picking and choosing the parts of Jesus's teachings that we like), and 2) people within the walls of the church who set their eyes on people rather than on Christ. imo