By Deolu Akinyemi
Someone preaches a message and someone quickly accuses them of dividing the body. If only people understood that what they call division is not what the Bible recognizes directly as division. Just so it’s clear, I want to attempt to share the things that truly divide the body.
1. Having your own church brand: Once you create a denomination, you have divided the body of Christ. We are HCCC, you are HCC. Once your members have any sense of pride in being members of your brand of church. Welcome to the club of those who divide His body. (1 Cor 1:10-13)
2. Sub-Heads: Mega pastors, loyalty to men. The Church and Body of Christ has one head, the moment we are loyal to other heads that is not Christ, we have divided the Church. These are the moments to watch out for; the moment a pastor’s brand becomes the one quoted rather than the words of Jesus. The moment I have heard my pastor more than Jesus. The moment I am more conversant with what Pastor said than what the Bible says. Division is caused when men speak perverse (distort and quote out of context) things that make men follow men instead of Christ.(1 Cor 3:1-3, Acts 20:28-13, Jer 23:1-3)
3. Doctrines: Any message that takes the shine off Jesus, and takes a center stage outside of Christ. Any doctrine that becomes a unique identifier for a people and gets them on a particular side – we don’t wear trousers, we cover our heads, we pay first fruits, we believe in feet washing, tithing, etc. Whatever extra legal burdens we put on the people of God is divisive. Any matter of special conviction not aligned with Christ is divisive. Division is not within the scope of a local assembly, it’s of the larger body of Christ. Anybody who adds to, subtracts from or changes the Gospel Message in it’s simple Christ focus is causing division (Rom 16:17-18,Titus 3:9-11, Matt 15:9).
4. Selfism: Self Development messages. You can make it, you can become better, you can get a better life, you can succeed. These are messages that sound good, and look good. The problem however is they inspire and build what is supposed to be dead and buried. They feed the flesh and keep the life of self alive, when it’s meant to be reckoned dead. There is no value to the flesh – flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God. Being a disciple of Jesus and a part of his body, requires absolute surrender and submission to His will. A hand cannot have it’s own internal decision making system outside the Head. The body is made up of members whose unity is coordinated only by the head. My hand knows when to rub my neck, not because it has a mind of it’s own, but because it responds to the head. Whoever inspires me to be all I can be, is causing division in the body of Christ (Phil 2:3-4, Jude 1:16-19, 2 John 1:9-11).
5. The End Time Agenda: The proliferation of false teachers and prophets. The devil is the author of division. He initiated the first division in Heaven. He had issues with God’s order, and wanted to be like God on His terms. As the end approaches, the divisive spirit will be on the increase. It will not increase by people dividing local assemblies, no, deception is not deception except it’s really deceptive. The biggest drive for dividing the body would be big congregations. Multitudes flocking together under a lie. You may not agree with me, but I speak the truth when I say to you that if you pay attention to the church brands with the biggest following – pay attention to the messages. Not locally in Nigeria, all over the world. The biggest division attempts are – “separate them, but make them big, make them united together, but divided from the real church.” You can’t know what God calls by their appearance – they are in sheep’s clothing. You can’t know them by their heart – only God can judge that. You can only know them by their fruits. The Bible is clear on the fruits. The commandment for this time is – don’t be deceived. You have a say in the matter. We are in times where people will believe a lie, because they have not been built up on the love of the truth. The devil will not manifest as an ugly demon, he will be in the visuals of your most revered and respected man of God (2 Thes 2:3, Matt 24:10-12).
If you understand the above well, you’ll realize that simply starting a church, becoming a popular pastor, having a strong church brand where my members use our church logo to differentiate themselves, and grow the church to become big and preaching messages that unite the members of the church is one of the biggest acts of division of the body I can be involved with.
What then must I do? Simply, follow Jesus. Disciple a few, and let them disciple a few. Communicate to the people you have led astray that you were misguided yourself and let them know you are not their pastor. Tell a few who want you to disciple them to work with you, you also find someone to be accountable to. Do the work of discipleship, meet from house to house and in any of the many buildings built to the glory of man, use them to teach people how to do their part. Lead people back to Jesus – teach them to read and understand scriptures. Help the people realize their brothers are currently in different parishes and branches. I’m sorry but a church branch really makes me ask who the vine is. Set the people free to be headed by Christ.
When they give themselves to God, they will offer their services to God with you. Free the people to align with Christ and disagree with errors.
No more walls. He that has ears, let him hear.