Public Conflict Undermines God’s Vision for Our Faith


First, please forgive a bit of crankiness today. A few days ago, I read something on a Christian website that I wanted to respond to. Unfortunately, it was one of those Christian websites that is so certain it speaks authoritatively for God that it does not accept comments. So I found the associated Facebook page and made my comment there.

Buried Under a Theological ‘Pig Pile’

Over the next hour — my lunch break — I experienced what I would describe as a theological pig pile. The site’s authors “engaged” me, two on one, generating a string of 40 comments in 60 minutes. The comments included such edifying taunts as “Why won’t you state the gospel? My 11 year old son can.” My suggestion that I was not under their spiritual authority nor required to prove my faith to them was met with similar ridicule. When I noted I had to return to my job, both left “final remarks” to close the conversation.

Seeking the Wisdom of Gamaliel and Paul

I found myself longing for faithful Christians with the wisdom of Gamaliel. Remember him? He was considered one of the greatest teachers in the history of Judaism. He taught Saul, the Pharisee who became the Apostle Paul. And when the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council, wanted to have a group of Christians killed, Gamaliel advised:

“Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39)

I’ve happened across a great many websites that claim the role of aggressively “defending the faith” against the “false doctrines” of other Christians. The Apostle Paul, by contrast, seems to have taken his lesson from Gamaliel well, for once he turned to Christ, this is his word to the faithful:

“If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:15)

Jesus: Christian Unity is Sign of God’s Presence

Jesus himself prayed that his followers would live in unity. He said our unity would be a sign to the world that Jesus had been sent by God:

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. … Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17: 20-21, 23)

By the way, I deleted all my initial comment from the highly engaged Facebook page, thereby removing what had become by end of day (!!) multiple comment strings. I’m newly resolved to simply ignore spiritual attack websites. May we all allow Jesus’ prayer and the Father’s presence to be reflected in lives that we live together.

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About Carlene Hill Byron

The former editor of New England Church Life and The New England Christian, Carlene Hill Byron is enjoying being home in Maine after 20 years in North Carolina. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild. Find her at christianpurposeblog.wordpress.com, churchandmentalillness.wordpress.com and on Facebook at MyHouseHasHistory.
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2 Responses to Public Conflict Undermines God’s Vision for Our Faith

  1. Heidi says:

    thank you so much for this Carlene. It’s one of the downsides of all the blogging and facebooking, etc., on the web, that we can so quickly “retort” in the name of “defending God’s name.” When God’s name is mercy and truth, with gentleness and grace. I’ve had to purposely NOT read things that I knew would stir me up too much. We are one Body, in Christ. It’s very easy to see all the things that can divide us, and yet, we are One in Him, and to Him. Thanks again for posting this; it is helpful to me.

    • Carlene Byron says:

      Glad to hear it was of value to one of the more gracious people I know!

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