by Dr. Wilfred Bellamy
I read an article recently that suggested that the most dangerous person in a church is the one who refuses to agree to anything that he or she does not like. Even when it is simply a matter of personal preference, the dangerous person makes it known that things should be done differently.
This poses a problem for many. The pastor finds it disconcerting because, even if he prepares thoroughly and teaches faithfully, he knows that it won’t please the dangerous person who will certainly find something wrong with some aspect of his teaching. Others are troubled because they are bound to hear it said that there was a better way to interpret a particular portion of Scripture. Rigidity is dangerous.
Another problem is that the dangerous person has a critical spirit. The leaders of the congregation seek to know the mind of Christ in fulfilling their duties. Do they always get it right? No they do not, but they always try. If they were all consumed by their own wants, or if they put their own schedules ahead of their duties in the church, they could not serve as faithfully as they do. The dangerous person always knows a better way to do things. It isn’t necessarily the way of the majority but it is the only way that pleases.
We don’t have to think long and hard to realize that the dangerous person can create division among the members of the church. If he or she speaks strongly enough, or appears sufficiently dissatisfied, there are sure to be some who will come to their side, and before we know it, we have two or even more factions in one congregation. Creating division does not in any way bring honor to our Lord. Division is the enemy of unity in the Body of Christ.
Joy in the fellowship is rooted in mutual love and trust. Jesus prayed that we would all be one. We will not agree on every little thing nor is that necessary. The important thing is to be concerned for the good of the whole. If we decide to be different, to think separately, and to behave as if our own needs and wants are of paramount importance, then mutuality disappears, and there is no trust.
Now, and finally, if we all really want to be dangerous, let’s be dangerous to the enemy of souls, who goes around as an angel of light or as a roaring lion “seeking whom he may devour.” Let’s be a danger to him, put on the whole armor of God, and be the first to the battle. That’s dangerous!
-Wilfred A. Bellamy, Ph.D.