I had a conversation with a friend recently. I explained that the gospel is easy to understand. He came back with a really great question:
“If the gospel is simple to understand, Why is there so much disagreement?”
I didn’t have a ready answer, though I had to agree that there is indeed a lot of disagreement among believers. The internet says that there are over 45,000 denominations in the world. I don’t even know how that could be true, but it’s the internet, so it must be.
So why are there thousands of divisions in the church? Why can’t we agree? This is the leading question we’ll be exploring in the following blog post series Why Can’t We Agree?
Over the next few blog posts, I’m going to lay out a handful of reasons the church is so divided and drowning in disagreement. Today’s reason is a sinister one. Reason number one:
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.2 Cor 4:4
The verse above mentions a little-g god and a big-G God. Paul illustrates a battleground between a god and The God. We know who Big-G God is, but who’s the little-g god? Zeus, Poseidon, Hades?
Paul didn’t leave us guessing. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he told us that the pagan gods are actually demons in disguise (1 Cor 10:20). Who is the chief of demons? Satan. So, Satan is the god of this age.
In the 60s, Flip Wilson popularized the humorous punchline, “The Devil made me do it.”
That’s not far off, but the reality is not nearly so funny. The god of this age, Satan, is involved in distorting and twisting the minds of people so that they can’t see the light. Unbelievers are under the influence of the god of this age. That’s a scary thought, but the verse makes it sound like only unbelievers have anything to worry about from the Devil.
Unfortunately, believers can be influenced by Satan as well, which is why Peter said to Christians:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8
Both believers and unbelievers can find themselves being influenced by the Devil. While each believer is an enemy of the Devil. Think bigger. The church is the organization where believers gather. Satan wants to divide and destroy the church.
Peter gives us clear instructions to avoid being devoured. Be alert and of sober mind. There is hope. With God’s help, Peter is telling us that we can recognize Satan’s methods and avoid them. Hopefully, in the coming blog posts, we’ll sharpen our ability to do just that.
We’ll continue our series Why Can’t We Agree? Tomorrow as we look at one of the main ways Satan divides the church.