Philippians 2:1-5: If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus...
If you have heard my opinion on the subject matter, you know that disunity in the church is a something that really angers me. There can be differences of opinion and it is okay to call someone out on mistakes that are made but the church is still supposed to be unified, period. it isn't easy, notice in the above passages that Paul had to write "if any" often. I think he was making a plea because it is hard...but it is still necessary. The Bible is clear in multiple places that the Church is to be unified. Here is why...the Church (universal body of believers, represented by the local church also) represents Christ and represents His love. We are supposed to stand out and be different, in a positive way. When the Church (and church) cannot get along with each other, what does that look like to nonbelievers? Not good, that is why we must show one another love...not because we agree with each other always, but because we are to represent lives changed by Christ who are willing to show forgiveness because He gave us forgiveness. Obviously, this does not happen. I am married to a minister, who is a son of a minister, I have gone to church for my entire life and I go to a school that trains for ministry...I see it enough that it has become a sore spot for me. So please allow me to step on my soapbox for a moment.
My school has once again made it into the newspapers. The administration has done something (along with many other somethings) that they should be "called to the carpet" on. I am not addressing that here but I do agree that there is a serious problem (among others) that must be addressed. My irritation and the purpose of my soapbox is with the people who went to the papers with the story. I do not know all of the avenues they took before leaking the story but I do know that one of those people has an "axe to grind" with the school and has not been responsible with his concerns in the past. I cannot believe that the leak to the media was a last resort for a great burden he felt. I read his blogs every once in a while and he shows a lot of immaturity in his dislike of the administration, therefore losing credibility. The Bible explains how a Christian is to address another Christian caught in sin. It NEVER says to include nonbelievers and talk badly about people who represent the Church in front of them. Why? It is as I said earlier, because it misrepresents Christ. This administration does not represent all of the people that attend that school, the denomination or Christians in general but a nonbeliever may very well not know that. My degree is marred, partly by the acts of the administration who represent my school but also by these men who have now spilled this dirty laundry to people who did not need that information. A person reading the story more than likely will never be in position that they needed that information about the school. But, that person could end up in my counseling office or a student's future church and find out what school we graduated from. That information about one administration's mistake may be all they know about the school and therefore what they will assume about me or that pastor. These people have hurt the students of this school more than helped because of the manner in which they chose to address the problem.
I have no patience for people who spread negative stories in the church just to do it. I have no patience for the churches that make mistakes that make it to the news. I have no patience for people who put their own selfish agenda over the mission of the Church (not just their local church). I have no patience for the church at the corner of a busy street near by who puts negative messages about types of church services on their signboard. I have no patience for the leaders that put themselves in positions that cause problems in the church. If you have a problem with your Christian institution, confront the person that is the cause of the problem and take the steps outlined in Matthew. If it can't be done civilly then just leave the church, find a new one and don't talk badly about your old one. It is not to let people get away with doing wrong (that is why I said to confront the person) but it is to prevent harm to the spread of the Gospel. God is clear in his Word that he will take care of those who have done wrong, especially those in leadership. Let Him do his job and we just need to do ours. Its pretty simple, just get along because we are all in this life together and are given the same mission. It would be a lot easier to run this race if we weren't so busy tripping each other.
I will now step off my soapbox.