- Unified, one and all. Aren’t you glad you grew up in a home and always worshiped in a church where all was peace and harmony? Where everybody agreed with everybody else? You didn’t? You’ve witnessed arguments and disagreements at church and at home? You’ve heard criticism of the way your church–local, regional, national or worldwide–operates? Even though it’s God’s church!
- Backsliders, welcome. What does God think about conflicts in His church? Does He have good reason to get rid of troublesome people? Are you ever irritated by people who claim to be Christian but seldom if ever open God’s word? Think about Jeremiah in Old Testament times. What was God’s will at that time for Israel’s future? What message did he have for wayward Israelites? How did they respond?
- God’s people divided. “Your father treated us cruelly.” Rehoboam, the Israelite king, needed help. “How shall I deal with these people?” What was the advice he received from the older, established leaders? And then what advice did he get from the young men he had known as his friends? Whose advice did he follow? What effect did Rehoboam’s decision have on Israel from that time on? Why?
- New Testament schism. The Children of Israel handled that problem badly. What about in the New Testament? Did the early Christian church face problems that could lead to disunity? What did Paul have to say about dealing with divisions in the church? Is it possible for us to give too much loyalty to a church leader? Where should our ultimate loyalty reside? Can we tell when leadership is in error? How?
- Paul has advice for Timothy. Paul doesn’t want Timothy to have any problems with disagreements in the Christian church. What advice does he give? Do you and I as fellow Christians have a responsibility to be sure that all leaders are following Scriptural teachings with accuracy and devotion? How can we do that? What are some sure ways we can avoid a misinterpretation of Scripture?