Schism in the Church (2)
A Sermon on Ephesians 6:10-13
The Armor of God
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and …
10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against …
The Protestant Reformation created a monumental break within the Western church. It is difficult to deny the necessity of Luther and the Reformers’ break from the Roman Catholic Church whose leaders were unwilling to address heresy and apostasy within the church. But what about the subsequent divisions following the Reformation? Do they carry the same legitimacy as the magisterial Reformers’ break with Rome? Can one know if a division is justified or not? In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Schism in the Church (2),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones engages these most difficult questions. No doubt this sermon challenges every church, denomination, and individual Christian. He treats the danger of schism throughout church history. On the other side of those who champion a vague doctrine stand those Christians who create schisms over every minute point of interpretation. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says this is part of the wiles of the devil. Acknowledging that division and schism within the church cannot be fixed with a simple formula, he offers several principles to consider as individuals, churches or denominations consider whether division is justified. Listen to wise counsel from Dr. Lloyd-Jones on divisions in the church with this timely message for the evangelical church.
- The devil works against God's people through heresies, apostasy, and schism.
- Schism refers to unjustified division in the church that tears the body of Christ apart.
- Schism often arises from too much interest in personalities, desire for preeminence, divisions over gifts or rites, or bigotry.
- Schism is often perpetuated by honest, sincere, and intellectual people who want to be right.
- There are cases where separation is clearly justifiable, like from apostasy or heresy. Further Protestant division can be justified to avoid tradition before truth, imperfect church views, lack of freedom of worship, or return to Catholicism.
- Separation is questionable over non-essential matters, uncertain interpretations, or practical application disagreements. We should agree to disagree on baptism, prophecy interpretation, church government, etc.
- Our chief concern should be knowing God, souls, and glory - not proving ourselves right. Consider the whole situation and consequences. Timing and preparation matter. Balance all factors.
- We should only divide over essentials like the evangelical faith. We can fellowship with those who agree on salvation by faith alone, Christ's deity and atonement, and the resurrection - regardless of label. Division over tradition alone is tragic. We need wisdom to unite around revelation and the biblical gospel.
The Book of Ephesians
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.