We religious leaders are a divine mess. We can snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory in a blink. How do we get so much undone that we do? No wonder the world begs off from joining us.
Where else would unity be so divisive as in the church? It is regarded as a dirty five-letter word among many. The Tulsa Workshop is accused---that's right "accused"---of leaving the patriotic theme of evangelism for a new theme.....the dirty five-letter one. How shameful is that?
According to Jesus, evangelism is primarily affected by our unity....John 17. Yet the more evangelistic among us seem to resent this. Why is that? Why can we not allow Jesus' very own words to register in our minds that he is telling us something most important? He is saying the world will know him by our love for one another. So we do what with that? Of course...we divide over the slightest gesture of unity. That's brilliant!
Why do we divide? What is it about us which makes us bent on extracting good reason to split up? Two things come to mind: (1) the evasion of the Holy Spirit, and (2) the evasion of sin.
(1) If we shut the Holy Spirit out of our walk, the deeds of darkness which includes divisiveness must be the fruit. This is spiritual law. Only He can lean His unifying work into God's people and if we shut the door on the Spirit....then the deeds of darkness are all that's left. We are a divided people because we can't stop it.
(2) We've lost the size of sin. We regard it as a few bad crumbs which fall from our otherwise goodness table. We sweep them under the rug; our bitterness, our hatred, our divisiveness, as if a pinch of bread and sip of grape juice on Sunday morning surely persuades God we aren't all that bad. The tiniest dot of sin wrecks an entire world. Yet, we behave as if the cross is a great topic for a sermon; but not that necessary for we strive to abstain from doing anything wrong.
When we lose sight of the size of sin, this opens the doors wide for the sinful (yet very acceptable among us) moves of judgment. We smirk and sneer at the stupidity of others while we smugly disavow our personal sin to be any big deal in the face of God.
Therefore, when our sin is small and His Spirit is unwelcome, we become a people so horribly disfigured we actually label a call for unity---not evangelism, but---weak and liberal teaching. Oops! We are exposed to what the world already knows about us. When we practice this form of religion, we are laughable to the world and sinful in the sight of Him who died for us.