I remember in middle school that we were given the homework to “memorize the Gettysburg Address”. I was shocked! I could hardly remember what I had for breakfast! To memorize such an important document seemed “light years” away in my ability. But even to this day, I remember parts of it. One section seems to be applicable to the many factions breaking off in churches today. Abraham Lincoln said:

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

This is true not only of physical nations but of spiritual ones as well. Once “Christians” began to become factional (breaking off because of man-made teachings) the Body of Christ began to suffer. When the church at Rome, prior to any “popes”, began to demand more authority and power because of their size, the “cracks” in the Church stared. Soon, that east of Rome pointed out THEIR perceived (human opinions) and they broke away from the Roman Church. One group excommunicated the other! Until Luther, there were only two, basic “churches” in Christendom, Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Luther, by the way, never wanted to break away from the Romanist church. He was excommunicated; declared a heretic and consigned to the fires of Hell! During his time, Calvin, (the founder of the Presbyterian church) declared his breaking away from Rome for many and varied man-made doctrines. On and on it has gone until the Body of Christ today is a broken mess. Cults who deny the Trinity, Baptists who deny baptism to infants, Presbyterians, and Methodists who deny the real presence of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Sacrament, Pentecostals who deny the two doctrines and demand that we “speak in tongues” ALL proclaim to be Christians! We even have “Lutherans”, today who deny every teaching in our beloved Small Catechism! Can the Lutheran Church, which has been around since 1517 “endure” the “civil war” of conflicting, fleshly doctrines? We shall see. We DO know that “the Word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1: 25), so it looks like a remnant will bless the Body of Christ until our Lord’s Second Coming. We, at Christ the Rock Lutheran Church, are part of that remnant.

As we fight the good fight and fend off the teachings of Satan which threaten our unity and the comfort of the Gospel, may He fill us with His mercy and grace to the end, may we pass the “test” by His grace alone and continue to look forward to the Day when He takes us to Paradise where there is no disunity, no bitterness, and no confusion. Amen! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!