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Cancer of the Church

By Allen Domelle, Old Paths Journal

1 Corinthians 11:6

“But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”

Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases that doctors have not been able to cure. Certainly, the treatment of cancer has improved, but there is no known cure for cancer. When a doctor tells a person that they have cancer, the mention of the word often brings fear. Though, only one part of the body has cancer, it will spread to the other parts of the body that are healthy and can take a person’s life if it’s not treated.

The church is a body. Therefore, just like the human body can get cancer, so can the church body. In 1 Corinthians 11, there are three cancers that destroy the local church body. Those three cancers are contention, divisions, and heresy. The first two cancers are a result of personality conflicts. Two people have a disagreement, and instead of getting right with each other, they allow their contention to grow into a division which hurts the whole body of Christ from working together. Heresy is the third cancer that can eat at a church. Heresy is often the result of someone trying to show how “smart” they are, but the only problem is that they have become too smart for God because what they are talking about is not found in the Scriptures. There are four things that every member of the church must do if a church is going to avoid these cancers from destroying its body.

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First, you must remove pride. Pride is the source of contention and heresy. Proverbs 13:10 says, “Only by pride cometh contention…” The easiest way to stop contention with another person is to swallow your pride and stop having to win every argument. Pride has caused many divisions in a church. Pride has kept many from saying they were wrong in how they dealt with another person. Pride has prevented many people from admitting they were wrong about what they believed or taught. You will remove all contention, division, and heresies if you remove pride.

Second, realize the importance of every person. Every person has a place in the local church body. There are no superheroes in a church that aggressively reaches the lost. A church can remove the cancer of divisions and contention when it realizes that every person has their place in the church and that every person’s place is vital to the work of the LORD.

Third, keep yourself in a proper perspective. The church doesn’t need you as much as you need the church. There have been times when some people think a church cannot exist without them, which is a result of prideful thinking. My friend, your church will go on without you. The local church is not dependent upon you to exist, but it exists because of Christ. The only individual that the church cannot exist without is Christ; therefore, stop thinking you are important to the church and realize how important the church is for you.

Fourth, do works of charity. 1 Corinthians 13 deals with the importance of charity in the life of the believer. Charity is love in action. If you get busy loving people through service, you will find that you will not be guilty of sowing the three cancers in your church. Serving God keeps you selfless; it results in you helping others. Serving self-interests keeps you at odds with others, which results in contention with others. You can keep from being a cancer in your church if you will serve others in your church. If you love your church, you will do everything in your power from becoming a cancer to it.

For more information, visit the Old Paths Journal Website.

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