by: Dr. Allen Domelle
“For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.”
No matter how hard you try to avoid it, division will always be a part of Christianity. The reason you will always deal with division is because sin causes division. Sin is what causes a person to leave the doctrine of the Scriptures. It all started in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve left what God told them to do. A division was caused when they disobeyed God’s Word. Since that time, every generation has had to deal with those who cause division.
There is nothing pleasant about division. It is sad that most people think the way to deal with division is to lay aside differences for the sake of getting along. My question to those who use this argument is, “How do you lay aside the truths of the Scriptures?” The only reason there is a division is because somebody left the teachings of God’s Word. We always have to remember that somebody is right and somebody is wrong. The person who left the doctrine of Scripture is truly the one who caused the division; however, there is a proper way to deal with division. In Romans 16, God shows us five things you must do to deal with division.
First, don’t make the division about personality, but about the doctrine of the Scriptures. Verse 17 says, “…mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned…” Doctrine is Scripture, and it should be your focus, not personality. A mistake that is commonly made is that we make a personality the issue when doctrine is to be our focus. Don’t fight over the personality, but fight for doctrine.
Second, identify who is causing the division. You can’t mark someone if you have not identified them. Every person must personally identify those who have gone contrary to the doctrine of Scriptures. Always remember that anybody is capable of doing wrong, so don’t be surprised when it is someone with whom you used to be close.
Third, avoid those who cause division. God commands in verse 17 to “avoid them.” He didn’t say lay aside your differences so you can get along, but He said to avoid them. Nowhere in the Scriptures will you find God telling us to lay aside differences for the sake of unity. That is the argument of those who have forsaken the doctrine of the Scriptures. Avoid them means to have nothing to do with them. Don’t go to their conferences, read their books or go to their colleges.
Fourth, don’t let those who’ve caused division sidetrack you from obedience. Those who have caused division will constantly try to debate you, but debating will only sidetrack you from obedience. Staying busy doing what the Scriptures tell you to do is the best way to deal with those who cause division. The Devil would love for you to step away from obedience to talk to those who have left the doctrine of the Scriptures. Don’t do it! Stay busy doing right.
Fifth, let the study of truth reveal the doctrine of division. God says that we are to be “…wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” Don’t fall for the trap that you need to study false doctrine so you will know how to debate it. If you continually study the truths of God’s Word, you will know when something is not right. Light always reveals darkness. Study and obey truth, keep it as your focus, and those who cause division will easily be identified.