Simple Questions Often Solve Complex Problems

Sometimes a complex problem can be solved by asking a simple question. My favorite story illustrating this concerns a group of world-reknowned scientists who had gathered to define the molecular structure of a universal solvent. There are compounds which dissolve in water, others in acids, others in gasoline. What would dissolve everything? Near the end of the day, the janitor who was cleaning the room overheard their deliberation and asked if he could ask one question. He said, “When you guys find that thing which dissolves everything, what are you going to keep it in?”

Sometimes, in our view of our own Biblical wisdom, we make a problem too complex. Imagine having the most learned religious leaders meeting in a conference to discuss religious divisions. With thousands of groups calling themselves Christians, how could men ever find unity? There are such differences in attitudes between the educated and the uneducated; between the western world and the rest of the world; between various ethnic groups of one culture and those of another. There is so much division that the average man seems lost in a denominational maze of discovering God, and some refuse to even attempt to enter that maze. What is the solution to all of this?

First, recognize that the world in which the church began had even greater diversity. There were those who knew about Jehovah and those who did not. There were those with an Old Testament background knowledge and those who  never knew it existed. There were those who were polytheistic and those who worshiped only one God. There were those who were educated and those who were illiterate. It was in that world of immense diversity where Christianity began.

Throughout that world millions embraced Christ and his teachings. They laid aside previous views of their gods and diversity of standards of morality. Nothing outside the teaching of Jesus became part of the Divine religion they accepted. There was not one congregation which differed from another in any way which was not challenged and rejected.

Now, here’s that simple question to help us understand this matter. What was God’s intention for the next generation of Christians? Did he see the second century Christians differing from the first? Read the verses—Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 1:10; Gal. 1:6-9; Eph. 4:13-15; Phil. 3:16-17; 1 Thess. 2:14; 5:20; 2 Thess. 3:14-15; 1 Tim. 1:3; 4:1; 2 Tim. 4:2-3; etc. throughout the rest of the epistles. Now if God never intended for the second century believers to differ, what about the 21st century believers? “Let us walk by the same rule” (Phil. 3:17).

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