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04.20.2011 / MikeyMills

Pour a Cup of Division

Something is brewing.

It’s been brewing for a while and it may be time to get two cups from the cabinet and pour.

The past couple of months have been eventful for the evangelical world. I choose the word “eventful” to be pleasant. Tumultuous might be more appropriate.

The advertising and subsequent publishing of a book by Rob Bell has created quite a stir. So much so that poor @RobBell, of no relation, has been thrown into a firestorm that he, by no means, deserved.

This book has caused people to take sides (side one and side two), to draw lines in the sand, and to say some pretty mean things; all of this involving people that are supposed to be on the same side, of the same tribe, of the same family.

My good friend (or so I like to think) and trusted voice, Scot McKnight, is calling these events a tipping point. Within the evangelical world, there seems to be two camps that have developed: the Neo-Reformed and the Progressives. Each of these camps have their figureheads, their heroes and heroines, and while they can all congregate under the same banner (evangelicalism), there is decreasingly little they actually agree upon. Taken to their extremes (and some are trying), these camps are beginning to look like a new Fundamentalism and an unaffiliated Mainline-ism.

On a side note, I will boldly say that the most regrettable result of the Protestant Reformation has been the lack of anything that looks like unity or commitment. Since that time, the modus operandi has been, “We don’t like their thing so let’s split and start our own thing.” As a result, we now have denominations upon denominations upon denominations. (Now is an appropriate time for a disclaimer: I believe in the cause of the Reformers. I just wish it had been an actual reformation and not something else.)

Is this riff in the evangelical world the next major split? If so, this will be more monumental than a denominational split. I’m not sure what to think about this actually happening. It will certainly have some significant consequences on the face of the Church in the U.S. This is where it goes from theoretical prattle to affecting the church that we’re starting. This is where I get scared.

Today, I feel somewhat helpless against waves of change that are this big. I can’t stop something like this. But, regardless of my power and ability to affect, there is something that I am sure of. In one of Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth, he tells them that, above their bickering, biting, and general nastiness towards one another, love is better. In fact, love is best. You might even say that love wins.

I hope hope hope that love will characterize our conversations, our arguments, our discussions, our thoughts, our collaborations, our everything. Without it, we are nothing.

Please feel free to join us in praying for the following:

  • That love would characterize our lives.
  • That the Church would find unity.
  • That our conversations about the reality we will experience after this life will always drive us towards mission.


Leave a Comment
  1. dianne / Apr 20 2011 12:02 pm

    Well said. Thanks.

  2. davo / Apr 20 2011 9:56 pm

    great post! keep writing!

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