When The Church Divides

      I hope you received the field update sent out to our M3 Prayer Partners last week. If you didn’t, you can sign up here on our new Updates from the Field blog page. In the update, I shared briefly on our most recent trip to Ghana where we were graciously hosted by Pioneers-Africa and given the wonderful opportunity to spend time with frontline church planters working in a near-by country.

While in Ghana, our team was blessed to hear from Dr. Solomon Aryeetey, founder of Pioneers-Africa. In 1986, Dr. Solomon, a Ghanaian medical doctor, and his wife Leticia, a lawyer, were about to fulfill their “dream” of immigrating to the US to further their professional careers, but God had a different plan for them. You can listen to their story in the Ministry Spotlight below.

Here, I want to share something that Dr. Solomon said during his talk. He commented how North Africa, and perhaps the entire continent, might have looked much different today if the church in North Africa had remained unified in the century prior to the Islamic invasion in the 7th century. Instead, the strong and vibrant church chose to divide over doctrinal issues which probably contributed to so many abandoning their faith during the Muslim oppression and occupation.

In fact, prior to the Islamic jihad, several of the largest cities in the Roman empire were found in North Africa–Alexandria in Egypt and Carthage in present-day Tunisia. These cities had become strongholds for the Christian church and some of the great early Christian fathers, such as Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine, were all born in North Africa and served in Carthage.

Having been well established prior to the Islamic invasion, what might this part of the world look like today had the church remained unified? Would they have withstood the onslaught of the persecution? No doubt some churches did survive but what might have been if church leaders on both sides had not chosen to stigmatize and anathematize the other. What might have been if they had united around what Jesus had taught and demonstrated for them to do?
The sad reality is that not much has changed over the centuries. We see the same mistakes being replayed in places all over the world. Satan, our greatest enemy, continues to use his “divide and conquer” tactic and churches continue to fall prey to it. While the doctrinal disagreements should certainly not be ignored or taken lightly, we don’t seem to be willing to recognize his tactics and learn from our mistakes. Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge the great consequences of a divided church and work harder to unify for the sake of the lost and dying.

Thankfully, Jesus knew the Enemy would never be allowed to ultimately succeed (Matthew 16:17-19). Jesus also knew His followers would struggle at remaining unified which is why He prayed, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one–I in them and you in me–so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20-23.

Our prayer here at M3 Global is that Christ’s church might awaken and unify around our love for God and each other, so that the world may believe that the Father has sent His Son, and people might turn to Him for their salvation. May it be so today.

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For His Global Glory!


MINISTRY SPOTLIGHT – “Here I am Lord, send him!”

PIONEERS is an international Fellowship which currently has workers serving in over 94 countries around the world. Pioneers’ mission is to mobilize teams to glorify God among unreached peoples by initiating church planting movements in partnership with local churches.
While studying to become a medical doctor in the US, Dr. Solomon Aryeetey met Harold Stevens, a PIONEERS missions advocate, who challenged him regarding the needs of the Fulani people in Mali, West Africa. After strong initial resistance, Solomon, and his wife Leticia, surrendered to God’s calling and for seven years, lived in the desert among the nomadic Fulani Muslims in Mali, learning the language and sharing the Good News of Jesus from hut-to-hut and through mobile medical clinics. As founders of Pioneers-Africa, the Aryeeteys have been instrumental in its growth today which now involves over 300 African workers and volunteers who serve among more than 60 Unreached Peoples Groups (UPGs) in 13 African countries.

“No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there is someone who hasn’t heard it once.”– Oswald J. Smith, Missions Advocate