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A Strife Between Abraham And Lot

"And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land." (Genesis 13:7)

I was reading a Question and Answer forum on the Internet a while back and came across a “question” posed about why adherents of a certain Christian denomination did something one particular way when the Bible clearly stated to do it another. Well, first of all, the practice in question was what would be considered a debatable or questionable “gray area” (not something clearly prohibited by Scripture) and second of all, the “question” was being posed by someone claiming to represent a denomination that does things very differently. In other words, the “question” was nothing more than a direct attack against this other denomination.

Naturally, it wasn’t long before a member of the denomination under attack came to the defense of his church’s practices and proceeded to set the questioner straight about why his denomination was in fact the one that was correct in this matter. As the two went back and forth and became more and more hostile, a third party interjected the snide comment, “I just love it when Christians fight amongst themselves.”

So often we as Christians get wrapped up in bickering between ourselves over issues of no importance that we forget that we are being observed by those outside the Body of Christ. We might be disputing something that we see as vitally important, but all the unbeliever sees is disunity and rabid sectarianism. Most unbelievers do not really know the difference between Methodists and Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians, or Calvinism and Arminianism. Furthermore, they don’t really care. What they are looking at is how we live out our Christian walk,  how we treat them, and how we treat other Christians. The Lord said that people would know that we are His disciples by our love for one another (John 13:35).

Genesis 13:7 points out that the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled in the land when the herdsmen of Lot and the herdsmen of Abraham disputed over that land. What did they think about these strange foreigners who served One God as they argued and bickered over whose cattle would drink from which stream? Did they shake their heads in wonder as these strangers in their land pushed and shoved one another over something so trivial?

“And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.” (Genesis 13:8)

Finally, Abraham himself  intervened and appealed to his nephew, Lot, reminding him that they were brethren. Obviously, there are doctrines of the Faith that absolutely cannot be compromised. We can no more have fellowship with the heretical cults who misuse and abuse the precious name of our Lord and Savior than light can fellowship with darkness. But those who do believe the fundamental tenets of the Faith are our brethren. They may call themselves by a different denominational title, they may choose to worship in a different style, they may do things a little bit differently, but if they are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ and they worship God in Spirit and in truth, then they are our brethren.

We gain nothing in quarreling with our brethren over inconsequential matters. All we accomplish in doing so is to further distance the unbelieving Canaanites and Perizzites in our own lands from coming to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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4 responses

  1. Amen,amen!!! This is the cause of so much heartache today quarreling about minor things when God has clearly said My people will be know by how they love each other,Lord help us to get over ourselves and fall deeply in Love with you.Another really good post Loren I enjoyed the read have a good evening.

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  2. This post was so excellent!!!! The bickering that goes on is such a BAD witness. If we have something to bicker about, we should take it out of sight and keep it between the parties only, not on display for the whole wide world to see. Thank you for a most excellent article!

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  3. Loren,

    Yes, I agree that various denominations are brethren, and that is something we can praise God for….. We have so much we can rejoice together in….. It’s like Paul says in Philippians 3:14-16 — “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”

    An important aspect of what Paul asks is that we “keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”….. I do become sad when some denominations that were fine years ago, when they first started, are becoming more and more liberal in what they impose upon their congregants as a church body….. People are forced to leave the denomination of their childhood because they cannot bear the liberal impositions of the leadership….. Those denominations are not, at this point, considered a cult, but they are causing deep distress for the Christians they are leading.

    Margaret

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  4. Margaret,

    It is very interesting what you referred to in the second paragraph of your comment. Upon reading this, I realized that in my post I inadvertently referenced two denominations that have very recently strayed away from what they used to be. It’s kind of strange because my choices of examples of denominations were completely random and arbitrary and I wasn’t even thinking about the liberal plunges that some denominations have apparently taken in recent years.

    As far as finding fellowship with churches that tolerate, approve of, and even encourage immorality, we must follow Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 5:11-13. I believe that if these denominations continue down the path that they are on, there is left no recourse than that prescribed in this passage and that they should be “put away” from fellowship with the Body of Christ, i.e., there can be no fellowship with those who compromise the truth of the Word of God and allow the “leaven” of immorality to permeate their congregations (and even their clergy, God forbid!).

    Honestly, the argument that I cited at the beginning of my post had to with how the sacrament of Baptism should be observed, I wasn’t really thinking about liberal denominations that deny the tenets and core doctrines of the Faith. I wouldn’t really call them “cults” either at this point, but many of them are flirting with apostasy, if they have not already made the jump into it entirely. Nevertheless, even in these instances there should be no strife or provocation between those in the Body of Christ and these who are falling away. If they fail to heed our warnings to return to true faith in God, then we are to disassociate ourselves from them entirely and allow the Lord to deal with them.

    Thank you for bringing this point up, I certainly do not wish to be misunderstood on this very crucial matter.

    In Christ,

    Loren

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