A recent article did an excellent job of documenting the factions within the Islamic religion. The focus of the article was Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood’s struggle to “be all things to all people” in light of current wrestling between the Saudi brand of Islam and the Sunni leanings of the Brotherhood. The old Mubarak regime was secular in nature and suited the Saudi’s better than the religious Brotherhood. The former alliance between Egypt and Saudi was precariously held together by their desire to limit Shiite power. Religion forms the basis of jihad or holy war. The factions (read: denominations) within a religious group, which by its own law supports the violent overthrow of those in disagreement, brings the very real threat of Islamic civil war. For years we have seen this as one Islamic faction uses violence against another to dominate with their particular brand of conservative or liberal Islam. When brothers fight against brothers it is called civil war.
In an online discussion through a Christian forum, the subject of denominationalism arose. I stated it was divisive to the body of Messiah. The use of “Messiah” rather than “Christ” prompted questions about my “affiliation.” I stated I have observed the Holy days and Sabbaths outlined in Scripture for a number of years. One person said categorically that I was wrong and one even called me Satan’s handmaiden. This is certainly not in alignment with Scripture and seems to be perceived as an acceptable way to address others in the faith who do not agree with you or are at a different place in the process of maturing.
While this confrontation was not physically violent, it certainly was verbally abusive and unwarranted under the circumstances. The leader of my congregation makes the point that people who must insist on being right or having things their way are actually insecure and immature. They do this in order to establish self righteousness. Even Paul and Peter - the apostles of Messiah Himself - disagreed and had personality conflicts, but unity was maintained in their focus on Messiah Yeshua as YHVH incarnate for the salvation of mankind! Messiah, himself took issue with the factions in Judaism perpetrated by the various leaders who set up their ideas and traditions over and above YHVH’s Word (Torah). Key here is their ideas and/or traditions. Whether that involves “christian” denominationalism or Jewish denominationalism, the Truth has never been anything other than THE Word of YHVH - all of it - His instructions (Torah) for life and they are not burdensome.
Sadly, I see this division being perpetrated even in marriages of believers. Relationships are difficult at best and must be cultivated and nurtured if they are to survive. This is the chorus from an old Linda Ronstadt song: Love is a rose and you better not pick it, it only grows when it’s on the vine. Hand full of thorns and you know you’ve missed it, lose your love when you say the word mine.There it is; the gospel in the chorus of a pop tune. Be grafted into YHVH through Messiah Yeshua with all your heart, mind and strength and love your neighbor (spouse, child, friend, stranger) as yourself, as Messiah first loved you - unconditionally.
I am not saying there cannot be disagreement in the camp. This is what makes us dig and think and grow. But when the disagreement becomes a knock down drag out fight for dominance and “rightness”, the Word of YHVH has been violated. We are now involved in disobedience. The Holy Spirit functions perfectly well without our help. We are not the convicting power that changes lives and trying to force someone into compliance is totally opposite of what YHVH has set up - free choice. This did not work during the Egyptian captivity, the Spanish inquisition or Hitler. When domination is the goal, everyone loses. They will know us by our fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith and self control. Only the vine that is attached to YHVH through HIs Living Torah - Messiah Yeshua, will produce such fruit! The choice is ours.