What causes church controversies? (Part 1)
THE above question obviously has more answers than one. But first is it true that there are controversies in Churches? The answer is one: Yes! Yes there are many controversies, some of them verging on the brinks of wars...holy wars maybe. . .Jihads of sorts between men and women who hate each to death. They hate each other and oppose everything the other says but trade handshakes and smiles in public.
Our main question is, ‘What causes controversies in Church?' The word ‘‘controversy'' can be interpreted as argument, disagreement, debate, storm or hullabaloo.
I will define the word to mean disagreement culminating into a storm or hullabaloo. ‘Argument' and ‘debate' do not speak to exactly what I have known and seen to happen in churches since I was a small Christian.
You may be tempted to think that the issue or issues of church controversy can only be identified and addressed by bishops, reverends and pastors. Not at all! Truth does not come out of these people alone.
In God's grand plan or scheme of life, He proved to be a Master-Planner and great strategist. He positioned His people in every place and situation you can think of: schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, armies, political parties, parliaments and governments, businesses of various shapes and sizes, governmental and non-governmental organisations, in every family even. . .literally everywhere.
In each of these places there is or are God's people specially positioned here for His purpose. The fact that such appointees do not know or are not aware of their purpose in a particular work place or station in life does not mean that God's plan is skewed or off-centre. It is only a matter of time before such appointees discover or realise their purpose in a given situation or station in life.
These appointees do not have to be pastors, reverends or church bishops. Many of them are simple people, whatever that means, who have no names or decorations. They may not even be anointed persons and may not even belong to any church at all. They are just where they are because God-knows-why, how and when they will serve a particular purpose.
Some of them are just bridges to carry across God's people to where He wants them. Others are simply messengers to carry appropriate messages to the correct places at the correct time. Some are just voices to pronounce God's instruction. Others are simply going to be used to accommodate or feed His people at the right times and places. Jesus did not use only his disciplines on his mission to deliver humanity from sin and to the Father in Heaven. He used many people who were in the right positions and circumstances at the right time.
But what happens in many churches? When these many ordinary people God planted or positioned in various places discover their purpose and want to do what God especially created and appointed them to do, the church leaders or recognisables stop them. They want to re-assign them and tell them to do what they want and think or believe is correct, not what God wants them to do.
When a cattle farmer offered Joseph and Mary the mother of Jesus his cattle kraal to deliver Jesus, no one stopped him. He was in position for Jesus to be born where he was supposed to be born. When Joseph of Aremathea negotiated with Pilate and bargained for his body to be brought down the cross for proper burial, he was there close to Pilate, in the right place and time, to use his dignity and relationship to enable this to happen.
When Moses was being hunted down by Pharaoh after issuing a decree that all Jewish boys must be killed, his mother hid him in a basket floated on top of a river. Miriam was there positioned (by God) for an obvious purpose. . .to save Moses. Then a Hebrew woman was there, looked for by Miriam, also readily available to look after the little boy.
If these ordinary people were not in place, of course positioned by God, the history of Moses would not be there or would be different. When Jesus wanted to feed the five thousand men plus women and children in a valley where there were no shops to buy or sell food, a small boy with two fish and five loaves was there to supply what in Jesus' life became one of the most famous miracles: The Feeding of Five Thousand.
If Nicodemus, a rich business mogul of Jerusalem, was not in the right place at the right time, who would have supplied a suitably valuable tomb or coffin for Jesus to be buried in? The disciples were all around. No one could afford this expense. None of them could afford a tomb in Jerusalem. Only business moguls like Nicodemus could afford to buy a burial space in the big city of Jerusalem. But he was there for Jesus at the right place at the right time. He stood up for Jesus to play his role in the great plan of God. And no one stopped him!
Why am I citing all these ‘ordinary' people? They and many more in the Bible were found in the right places at the right time, positioned strategically by God Himself for His purpose.
But what do modern church leaders or disciples do today? They are busy stopping ordinary people in their churches to do what God strategically positioned them to do.
They blame them and reprimand them for pushing private agendas. But are these not God's special agendas as only God positioned them to do?
They (the church elders, leaders and recognisables) know everything. They are the anointed. They only, and only they, have the Word and know the direction. They only, are God's vessels and no one else can or must do anything unless it is their idea or vision.
Vamwe vese vanhu varimuChurch havazivi chinhu. They are sinful small insignificant babies in the church and they cannot champion any cause no matter what it is. Insignificant church babies and sinners of course! And these were who Jesus came for. Jesus came for the sinners, did he not? He did not come for the righteous. And when he died, he died for all. . . literally ALL of us.
The spirit of the disciples who were too possessive and jealous about Jesus when Zacheus climbed up a tree to see him and he (Jesus) said, “Zacheus, come down. Tonight I will have supper with you in your house”, only to be met by sharp disgruntlements from the disciples, is dominant in churches today and causing terrible controversy. Who are you listening to, following or suggesting to having supper with? Who is this or that man or woman in Church to be suggesting this and doing that? Such questions by church leaders and elders, who feel challenged and belittled, cause great controversies in churches.
Of course leaders determine the direction. They are anointed to shepherd the flock. They must be listed to, obeyed and respected.
There is no doubt about that. But they too are human and must remember God strategically positioned small men and women, little Josephs, Dorcases, Deboras and Esthers, little Davids and Tituses in the church to help reflect the glorious name of God. Even those without names, and with no honour; they too are part of God's grand plan in the scheme of His work. Do not stop them from fulfilling the purpose for which God strategically positioned them. Use them. Do not frustrate them.
Do not ask, ‘Why the little David to confront the giant Goliath yet he (David) only has a stone sling?'
Jesus knows why. It is these stop-it questions that create idealistic havoc in churches today and culminate into unnecessary and un-Godly noises, divisions and controversies.
It started in the ancient churches. But 21st century churches have failed to find an answer to such divisionist attitudes.
Is this all that causes controversies, loud and quiet noises in church today? Certainly not! Do not miss Part 2 of this interesting truth in next week's edition of The Manica Post.
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