On this rainy Saturday morning I sat in the auditorium of our church and grieved. Not because someone died, but because Satan was rolling in the aisles laughing at division.
You see, our church is going through a period right now of reflection on whether or not they should stay a part of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, or seek affiliation elsewhere (or even go independent). Like any talk of divorce it’s contentious.
But this morning, we had a really good information session. We had good presentations from the Board on our finances, on our history, and on the path forward. We had comments from the District Superintendent and the General Superintendent of the PAOC and all was very cordial.
Then Question Period began. I think people have been watching CPAC too much and think that this Q&A session, as a friend put it, should be pronounced “Short Sermon Period”. Most people really didn’t want to ask a question, they wanted to be heard. Some didn’t want to be heard – they wanted to be right!
I know it’s contentious, and I know there are emotions that are riding high, but it grieves me, and I’m sure the Holy Spirit, when we hear God’s people arguing and name calling over issues such as these.
I used to wonder why there were so many denominations; so many churches; so many congregations. I think I’ve now figured it out.
People are different. They like different styles of worship. They adhere to beliefs that they believe are Biblically sound, but of which there might be multiple interpretations. They want to meet in different times. They like different music styles. They want liturgy. They don’t want liturgy. And on and on it goes.
But you know what. Whatever your style, preference, or understanding, there’s probably a church out there for you. And I, for one, don’t really care which church you worship in, as long as it’s worshiping Jesus Christ, the one true Son of God. Whether you are Baptist, Pentecostal, Anglican, Brethren, and independent biker church, or any other Christian congregation, it’s okay with me. If the church you belong to isn’t meeting your needs in some way, then maybe it’s time you looked elsewhere. If the church you belong to isn’t having it’s needs met by it’s denomination, then maybe they should look elsewhere.
But, literally for God’s sake, we need to remember that ALL these churches belong to God, not to man. We are all, or should be all, working together for the common cause — the Great Commission; the cause of spreading that good news that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died, rose and dwells among us through His Holy Spirit and empowers us to go and do good works and to bring others to Him.
Back biting, name calling, and arguing don’t accomplish that. It leaves a sour taste in our mouths. It clouds our thoughts. It clutters our worship, and it distracts us for knowing him better day by day. It makes God grieve, and it makes Satan smile.
As the District Superintendent of the PAOC prayed at the end of the day, let whatever decision is made, be made decisively, and be done with the full intention of maximizing the positive effect on God’s kingdom.
I will continue to pray this daily not only for our church, but for all churches worldwide. May God’s will be done!
Well said and I totally agree. Saddens my heart too. Denominations are like cars. Some people choose by brand, others by type, others by style, some for practical reasons, or by colour; still others by emotion. some people `fall in love` with their car. At the end of the day, for most people, it is a vehicle that takes one from point A to B.
You go to a church belonging to one denomination. I go to a different church belonging to a different denomination. But we are both brothers, saved by JESUS – by His GRACE, just taking different `vehicles` on the same journey to follow Jesus wherever and however he wants us to live.
And just for the record, I’ve been United, then Independent, then Congregational, then Independent again, currently Pentecostal and now whatever is next. During our church search two years ago we went to Baptist, Independent, Alliance, Pentecostal and a bunch of churches that I have no idea what they were. We just let God lead us to where He wanted us to be, and I’m sure He’ll lead us through this too. 🙂