“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Jesus in Mark 3:24-25
I have been thinking about the creeping spiritual darkness that threatens to overwhelm America’s colleges and universities. Any unbiased person can see that our institutions of higher learning are in deep trouble.
One of the reasons for this continual decline lies at the door of the Christian groups on campus: they are divided. I have been doing ministry on university campuses for over thirty years and it is a rare day when, for example, Campus Crusade for Christ works hand in hand with the Navigators to conduct outreach or bible studies together.
Or when does one campus church work with another campus church on a joint venture? According to my experience and knowledge, this does not happen…ever. Why? One reason is because “Church A” does not agree with everything “Church B” believes, even though it might only be a minor theological difference. “We’re Reformed and they are Charismatic…we can’t allow our people to work with them because we don’t want our sheep speaking in tongues or becoming too emotional in prayer.”
I don’t want to minimize theological differences; some groups who identify themselves as Christians are so off the theological wall that we cannot offer them the right hand of fellowship; to do so would dishonor Christ and the truth we cherish more than life itself.
But I’m not talking about these vast differences in belief but rather minor–even insignificant ones–that cause groups to refuse to work with one another.
As a matter of fact, I’m speaking with a brother on this exact point, a fellow evangelist who yesterday joined us on our campus outreach at UC Berkeley. He goes to another church that is more rigid in their theological beliefs than mine and is more concerned with people being of the “right doctrine” than I am. I told him that if we waited around to evangelize with people who thought exactly like we do, we wouldn’t be doing much evangelism .
Again, I need to emphasize that correct doctrine is essential and there are beliefs that cause us to separate from one another, but these vast differences are not what I’m talking about.
I live my life by this beautiful statement: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; but in all things, love.” Nitpicking over non-essential doctrines, beliefs and practices only fuels the destructive machine of division, crippling the Great Commission and contributing to the spread of wickedness on campuses.
A house divided itself cannot stand. Are Christians not the “temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16 ESV)”? The very “house of God”? If so, we need to understand that this verse in Mark has application to believers. If our house is divided, it will eventually collapse.
And our house is divided, shamefully so. How many Christian groups are there on a typical university campus of any significant population? I have listed two in the paragraphs above. There are others: Chi Alpha, InterVarsity, Christian Challenge, to name a few, along with a host of smaller, lesser known organizations more popular on universities and colleges with lesser student populations.
The issue is not that there are so many different groups but that they are in competition with one another. Of course, spokesman for each of these groups would no doubt deny the truth of what I just wrote, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating: all one has to do is to ask these groups for evidence that they are working together with other groups on campus to bring the gospel to their fellow collegiates. Such cooperation among the various Christian groups is virtually unheard of, and again, the Great Commission suffers for this partisan mindset.
Worse, souls are lost to this carnal mindset that refuses to reach across the evangelical aisle and join hands in evangelizing the campus. Darkness and sin gains an ever greater foothold as the light of truth is pushed farther and farther into the background, eventually being looked upon as meaningless and irrelevant to the campus culture. “Out of sight, out of mind.” As Christians retreat into the comfort and familiarity of their own groups, their influence as the salt and light on their campus suffers a continual decline into almost total irrelevance to the non-Christians that surround them.
Friends, this is a serious issue. We need to call this what it is: sin. We need to understand that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been, is, and will continue to be hindered unless and until university and college Christian groups recognize the serious issue at hand and join in corporate repentance to eradicate this great hindrance to revival and a spiritual awakening that is long overdue.