Factions Are Necessary
“For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.” (1 Corinthians 11:19)
Factions among the people of God are necessary and unavoidable from time to time.
One reason for this is so that those who are approved may be distinguished from those who are not approved. However, this implies that at any given time there may be some among us who are not approved. Thus, factions are necessary. A church can only “go along, and get along” for so long once part of the group has turned away from the Lord.
Additionally, factions become inevitable from time to time because it won’t be long before those who are not approved will no longer feel comfortable in the company of those who are approved. Those who are not approved begin to look for a reason to leave or a way to get rid of those who are approved. Any “issue”, whether doctrinal or personal, can be used to start the process of division
In the midst of controversy, how can I know where I stand? Perhaps much more could be said on this subject, but here are a few simple questions to help us at least begin to see where we stand.
1. Am I looking for a reason to leave, or am I willing to struggle through this difficult time with the hope of maintaining the unity of Spirit?
2. Are my brethren making me uncomfortable, or is it the thought of them knowing what I really think that makes me uncomfortable?
3. If I am certain that some of my brethren have done something that is contrary to God’s law, am I equally certain that I have extended the mercy and patience that God would show them in seeking to bring them back to the truth?
4. Would I prefer for weaker brethren to leave, or am I willing to listen to their concerns and allow them to grow while working with them to reach the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God together?