Now you could say that I’m taking two very different verses out of context and stringing them together, but follow me on my little journey here and hopefully it will make more sense. You see, lately I’ve been very occupied and worried about the unity of the Church universal. I found out that the National Zondervan Pastors conference has been canceled indefinitely; the great ecumenical leaders of the last generation are nearly all gone save for Dr. Billy Graham (Rev. Billy Graham? I can never remember his title); Rob Bell has, whether he meant to or not, created a rift in Christian America; and a local pastor recently said quite bluntly “we never work with other churches.”
My thoughts turned to Luke 11:17. “Every Kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house.” This statement is absolute and it wasn’t very hard for me to insert the word “The” where it says “Every.” I look at the state of affairs in the Church universal, and I don’t see it. I don’t see a church universal. I don’t see a house of prayer, but many houses arguing over which mountain is the best to worship from.
I searched the gospels for some encouraging word about unity but the Lord led me to a very different passage also in Luke. 12:49-53 “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, rather division!” (v 51) And Jesus goes on to describe how families will be torn apart and set against one another. It’s a reference to Micah 7 and the wickedness and sinfulness that permeated the society of the time.
It was a society where the Asherah pole and the temple of Baal were accepted as part of being cosmopolitan. It was a society where golden calves had been set up in the high places for people to worship not because the people were to worship the idol, but because the King didn’t want his people going to Jerusalem to worship and sacrifice. Then even after the exile the High places remained and people continued to worship on the mountains. “Your people worship in Jerusalem but mine worship on this mountain.” (John 4).
Jesus is calling us to true and holy worship, and all we can do is argue about which mountain is closest to God. Is it First Regional Baptist or Northwest Pentecostal? The Church of St. Andrew or Zion Assembly of God? So we are divided 3 against 2, father against son.
Father forgive me for the part I’ve played in this.