Derek Prince - The Primary Cause Of Division In Churches
This is an excerpt from: The Cross In My Life - Part 2
In Galatians 5 you notice most of this comes from Galatians what was the problem of the Galatians? Carnality and legalism. So you see, Paul is dealing with both. And he says in Galatians 5:19: Now the works of the flesh are evident There's a slight difference in the text. Some say one thing, some say another, but the difference is not significant. The works of the flesh are evident; which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, drunkenness, revelries and the like.
Now, if you analyze the works of the flesh, they fall into four categories which I'll briefly mention. First of all, sexual immorality. That is adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness. Most people think that's what the works of the flesh are. They don't think there's any other area that needs to be dealt with. Actually, that's by no means the greatest problem.
The next area is the occult. Idolatry and sorcery, or the Old King James says witchcraft. That's a work of the flesh. But when the flesh indulges in it it become demonic, you understand? But the initial motivation for idolatry and witchcraft is the fleshly nature. Witchcraft is humanity's way of controlling people and getting them to do what you want. Any attempt to control others is the beginning of witchcraft. And when you go much further along that it becomes demonic.
So that's the second category. The third category which is much the largest is all wrong attitudes and relationships. It lists here hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy. Those are all different descriptions of wrong attitudes and wrong relationships. It's much the largest area of the flesh. So, those are just as much sins of the flesh as adultery or fornication. But you see, basically speaking, religious people condone those whereas they're strictly against sexual immorality. And then the final is what I call sensual self-indulgence. Drunkenness, revelries and the like. But they're all different expressions of our fleshly nature. They all have to be dealt with.
First Corinthians 3, Paul pinpoints the cause of divisions in the church. First Corinthians, chapter 3. If you were asked to say in one phrase what is the cause of all division in the body of Christ, would you have an answer? I believe the answer is very clear. It's the flesh. All divisions go back to the carnal nature. And until that's dealt with we'll always have division in the body. 1 Corinthians 3:3-4. Paul is writing to the Corinthian Christians, he says: You're still carnal. How does he know? For where there are envy, strife and divisions among you, are you not carnal, and behaving like mere men? The mere fact that there's divisions and strife is sufficient evidence that we're carnal. You see that?
Then Paul says how do I know it? Some of you say, 'I am of Paul,' and others, 'I am of Apollos,' As long as you are divided by following human leaders rather than Christ, you're carnal. See, I've heard theologians from the old line denominations say the Corinthian Christians were carnal because they spoke so much in tongues. That is not what Paul says. He says you're carnal because you're following human leaders rather than following Christ. And he didn't say it's all right to be following Paul but not all right to be following Apollos. He said whoever you follow.
So you see, people who say, 'I am of Luther,' or 'I am of Wesley,' or 'I am of Calvin,' if they make that their first commitment they come under this category. A lot of people think theology is the cause of division. It's not. It's carnality. Of course, a lot of theology is used carnally but the root cause of division in the body of Christ is the flesh. And the only solution is the cross. We need to deal with that, each one in our own situation.