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Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? — for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
I Think Jesus Would Cry
Last Thursday I was having a conversation with a Roman Catholic friend of mine, and I was sharing a little bit about the Presbyterian Church. And as we were talking, I mentioned that in Weirton and Steubenville, there are five Presbyterian Churches, representing four different Presbyterian denominations. Now, that really surprised her, and so she naturally asked why. And I explained that I was part of the larger, national church, but each of the other three split off, either because of the ordination of women or the acceptance of homosexuality. And so now, if you’re Presbyterian, you have a choice of four different flavors, not unlike standing in front of the counter at Baskin-Robbins. And you can pick out the one that best conforms to what you already believe. And this is just what’s happening within the Presbyterian Church. If you include Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, and all the churches that see themselves as independent, the selection of options is greater than anything you’d find at Old Country Buffet.
And because of that, I honestly believe if Jesus came back right now, he’d probably be sad over what we’ve done to his body. Rather than looking at what unites us, we focused on issues that divide. And instead of claiming a common faith in God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, we decided to let things that are secondary split us into competing franchises. And frankly, I think that would cause Jesus to cry. But that’s not all, I think he’d also remind us that “every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house” and that “whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”