Over the last few weeks, a tremendous amount of my time has been focused on a critical issue that is bringing major division to many evangelical Christians in America which leads me to ask myself, “If we, as a sub-group within a sub-group, can’t even work together, how can we possibly influence the larger world around us?”
But that question doesn’t only apply to religious groups and organizations. Watching the many divisions that threaten to tear conservatives apart hasn’t been any more heartening, and regardless of who we are, the same principles apply to all us.
Here are some quotes and principles as a reminder of the importance of building unity around common goals, not allowing our secondary differences to divide us.
1) A house divided will not stand. These words go back to Jesus in the Gospels when he was challenged by the religious leaders of his day.
When accused of healing the sick and driving out demons by Satan’s power, he replied, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?” (Matt 12:25-26)
Abraham Lincoln famously used this quote when chosen as the Republican presidential candidate on June 16, 1858. In his speech, he stated:
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.
Who could have imagined the horrific toll that the Civil War was about to take on our nation before we became all free.
Today, conservatives can hardly unite among themselves, let alone unite to influence the nation, and we know what will happen if our house is divided.
2) You need some enemies to destroy. I’m not speaking here about destroying people but rather ideologies, meaning philosophies or policies that are downright destructive to the American people.
Fomenting dissent and sparking discontent is not enough. That only leads to bad attitudes, something akin to getting people so upset about the economy that they take to looting. What possible good would be accomplished?
Instead, as Roger Lloyd wrote many years ago in his book Revolutionary Religion, “You cannot have a revolution until you have some enemies to destroy.”
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.