By Pastor Joe Gale, Calvary Chapel Fernley
Last week, I began looking at my vision for ‘The Bride’: simplification. Taking away the man placed complexity from the simple new life the Lord Jesus came to provide. We looked at ‘illustrations’ and how while they are wonderful as an aid to guide us into understanding, they are quite the opposite when they ‘slip their moorings’ and take a position of honor that was not intended for them. In your study, as you listen to your Pastor preach or Sunday School teacher teach, it simply reduces down to ‘Illustrations Illustrate’ and that is all that they do. Practice it this week as you attend the church of your choice, glean from the illustrations what amplifies the Pastor or Teacher’s point and let it aid you taking the knowledge being shared, and add to it understanding and then application. For all ‘wisdom’ is remains, applied knowledge, or knowledge in motion.
So this week I had to randomly grab another ‘brick’ from the wall. This week’s brick of man-made complication is that caused by division. I had thought I mentioned, that with each PhD or Church Split, the simplicity of the Gospel and Christian life gets a little more complicated. But it was lost in my final edit. But that comment is always good for a puzzled look or wrinkled brow.
But first let’s see if you followed through on your ‘homework’ from last time. The questions was: ‘In the parable of the seeds’ found in Matthew 13, where are we? The Lord is the sower, the Word sown is the seed, but where are we? It is my belief that we are ‘the soil’. Soil that can grow good and bad, weed or fruit, with equal ability. Agree or disagree, either is okay; however, now look at the illustration of the parable and find a powerful application. I’ll continue more next time.
So, returning to today’s brick from the wall. There is nothing wrong with obtaining greater and greater knowledge and obtaining degrees and advanced degrees. I have a few myself. But along the way to obtain an advanced degree, ‘dots are connected’, that probably do not fully connect, and the result is defensiveness, confusion and complexity. We need to walk carefully along those paths. For example, think of the annual battles between the name of the day of the LORD’s resurrection. The ‘Easter’ versus ‘Resurrection Sunday’ dispute is not going quietly into the night. If you old enough, wasn’t it much simpler before? Where did it start? As an intellectual exercise.
Finally, how does living the Christian life get more complicated with each division, or split, in the church? Well, think about this. What do most divisions normally occur over? Doctrine, from simple to complex, from major to minor, most divisions occur over doctrine or practice. This is an over-simplification of a complex issue: One half of the church wants to celebrate Communion on the first Sunday and the other wants to do it on the last and the church spilts, the first half spends more energy on defending their ‘new’ belief than what they normally would teach, while the second does the same toward theirs. Can you see why some fellowships are so fixed on certain issues at the expense of others? Of course that was only an ‘illustration’; however, the topics are as wide as varied at the bouquet of churches that dot our Christian landscape.
Can you see how the simplicity can be lost by the complexity caused by division? It is NOT a reason to not divide or to attend a church that is the result of or that had a ‘split’. However, it is a straightedge to hold against the church to ensure it doesn’t over focus.