By Dr. Michael Koplitz
Today we are facing a divided country similar in many ways to the fractured Jewish community at the time of Yeshua.
The Hebraic people of Galilee and Judea had been under an oppressive rule for centuries, and this pressure caused their society to break apart. Groups of people followed Roman rule because they wanted to obtain financial and materialistic gains while another group opposed the Roman occupation. Most of the common people, who were from the peasant class, were concerned about daily life. Yet, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots formed during this period of oppression. Each group had a different agenda and sometimes they fought with each other. Even though their ideal situation was to work together to overthrow the oppressors, they had different ideas on how to do this and how to protect themselves. Thus, their division allowed Roman rule to continue.
Yeshua always promoted unity. The healing narratives are examples where Yeshua teaches us that unity is an essential feature of the Kingdom of Heaven, but unity must start on Earth. For example, the man with leprosy was separated from the community, but Yeshua healed him so he could be returned to his people. Another example is that some people in the community were allowed access to the LORD, while others were not. To overcome this division Yeshua promoted charity. He wanted people with excess resources to help people with little.
In the United States today we have two groups competing with each other. The two groups are Modernists (protecting cherished values) and Post-Modernists, who promote change. Over the past twenty years, it has become evident that age is no longer a determining factor as to which group a person aligns with. When Post-Modernism was introduced in the late 20th century, it was based on age. Young people were being taught Post-Modernism. Unfortunately, the teachers of Post-Modernism and the founders of the movement taught their disciples not to be very tolerant of Modernists.
Modern and Post-Modern thinking does have things in common. A new way of human thinking is always based on existing thought. The problem today seems to be that the Modernists and Post-Modernists have gone to war. In the late 20th century, the two groups coexisted and worked together. Clashes often occurred because there were some substantial differences between the two philosophies, but the two sides showed respect for each other. Compromise was occurring between the two groups and society grew and learned to adapt to a new way of thinking.
When the 21st century began, the war started. It does not matter which side started the war, and perhaps it was a mutual thing. Now, in 2020, the two sides are incredibly intolerant of each other. Both sides work toward destroying the other. It does not matter which side controls the U.S. government because the side out of power will fight instead of compromising. Also, the side in power pushes the other side out of the picture whenever possible. This move is occurring whether Modernists or Post-Modernists are in power. Compromise has almost become a dead issue. When does comprise occur? When the thinking of Modernists and Post-Modernists intersect. That does happen from time to time. It is happening less often, which is sad.
This phenomenon is also occurring in Christian churches. The division among denominations that has prevailed for centuries is now accelerating. The Modernists and the Post-Modernists in the Church are fighting with each other. Each side has been obstinate about listening to the other side. Most of the large denominations have already divided. The United Methodist Church will probably divide into Moderns and Post-Moderns in 2021.
Yeshua wanted unity for His people. Every time there is a division in the Church He must be weeping. How can people say they are disciples of Yeshua and allow (and even promote) divisions in the Church? The Church is not united, and since 48 CE it never has been. Today society’s war of Modernists and Post-Modernists has infiltrated the Church. Therefore, the divisions of the Church will probably continue.
How can both groups come together? In November 2020, after the Presidential election, it is apparent that something drastic must happen to bring Modernists and Post-Modernists together. We must remember that Yeshua stands for unity. He also demonstrated the courage to tell His people that their fracturing was allowing the oppression to occur.
Do you remember when a man approached Yeshua with leprosy? The law of the day said that one does not touch a person with leprosy. What did Yeshua do? He touched the man and healed him. Yeshua demonstrates courage! People in that day believed that touching a person with leprosy would transmit the disease. Did that stop Yeshua? No. He had courage. The allegorical meaning of the narrative is that Yeshua demonstrated that courage was needed to reunite the Hebrew people. Once united, they could stand up to their oppressors.
The Church has numerous oppressors today both inside and outside. The Church is dying because of oppression. The Church needs people of courage to come forward and reunite it to defend itself from oppression. The people of the Church need to take Yeshua’s example of courage. Touch the untouchable! The untouchable subject of compromise must be reinstated as the norm of how the Church works. Modernists and Post-Modernists in the Church need to have the courage to live the way Yeshua wants us to live. We are supposed to live in harmony and unity.
Who will have the courage to stand up and unite the factions of the Church? Perhaps that person is you. The greatest thing that can be done for Yeshua’s Church is to bring all of its factions together! The LORD is calling for someone to come forward. Isaiah answered the call of the LORD when no one else would. Yeshua is calling now for all His disciples to come forward. Let us answer the call together.
Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste [desolate; no people]; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Mat 12:25
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Pastor Michael H. Koplitz, D.Min., Ph.D. is an ordained minister, author, teacher, and webmaster at BibleInteract. He currently lives in York Pennsylvania with his wife, Sandy, where he has been a pastor at the United Methodist Church for over 18 years.