Saturday, January 22, 2011

22 JAN 11: Brother Against Brother?

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: You may find the following items humorous, serious, or a little of both - but we offer these thoughts from time to time, as we keep a seventh-day Sabbath.)

At first glance, you'd think people would be relieved and happy by what Robert Bentley said this week. He wants to be the Governor of everybody in Alabama -- but he's NOT everybody's brother. That sort of tangled relationship should be saved for jokes about the Ozarks.

But Governor Robert Bentley caused a nationwide stir, even before taking the oath of office. He told an Inauguration Day worship service in Montgomery people who haven't accepted Jesus Christ as Savior are "not my brother, not my sister." At least he didn't conduct an altar call during the service, to fill staff positions.

Groups such as the Anti-Defamation League objected to Robert Bentley's comments. The Alabama Governor then apologized, after a meeting in Birmingham with people from many faiths. But fellow Baptists with Bentley say he had no reason to apologize -- and a few probably prayed for God to give him a gift of healing, to make health care reform null and void.

If there's one thing on which all sides should agree, it's this - Governor Robert Bentley's remarks were divisive. The groups who objected would say that's bad. Bentley's supporters would answer no, it's Biblical - because Jesus Christ came to divide people. If He created the "Continental Divide," dividing groups of humans is no big deal.

As it happens, I've been doing some in-depth Bible study lately on the subjects of division and separation. That's because the church association I attend has undergone a major split in the last six months. About one-thirds of the ministers left to start a new denomination -- but most of them are too conservative to call it an economic stimulus program.

I've been reminded the common cliche in December about Jesus coming to bring "peace on earth" is a bit misleading. Luke 12 quotes Him as saying He came NOT to bring peace, but division -- or as another translation puts it, "dissension." Jesus can divide families even more than a second computer in your home....

Long ago, Jesus even divided Jews - since Revelation 5 indicates He was born into the "tribe of Judah." A few accepted Jesus as the Savior sent from God, and that's how the "Christian Church" began. But I've found even in the church, divisions still happen about 2,000 years later. They'd be easier to handle if God simply struck down the "wrong" groups with lightning bolts.

I've prepared a detailed article about how God and Christ can be dividers, which was rushed out to the web late Friday night. You're also invited to consider a Bible-based analysis of who qualifies for the title "brother" in a spiritual sense. You may find Alabama's Governor leaned so far to the right that he was only partly right.

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