Like the Avengers, Christians are called to do battle on the side of good. Our battles are spiritual ones and our enemy is Satan. One of Satan’s great battle strategies has been to divide Christians into multiple denominations and groupings so we will fight against each other instead of presenting a unified message to the world.
Which begs the question: What should we do about it?
Should Christians everywhere lay aside their differences? Should we hammer out an accord we can all sign so we can be one big happy Church again? Should we ignore the ideologies which separate us and present a united front so the world will trust us?
Jesus stressed unity when he prayed to the Father: “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 17:22-23). And Paul said, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
But can we get past all our differences and stand united with people who, although they call themselves Christians, think very differently than we do? Not only are we split along denominational lines, but there are bigger issues which divide us - big questions like: Is the Bible true and reliable? Is faith in Jesus the only way to heaven? If we can’t agree on these issues, should we set them aside and make compromises for the sake of unity?
The Avengers didn’t. By the end of the Civil War movie, there was no resolution of who was right and who was wrong. They still did not agree. They did not reunite. There was only a shared commitment that each of them would keep doing what they could to fight for what they believed in.
Two more big questions which divide Christians are, “What is the purpose of the church in this world?” and “What’s the end game God is working to bring about?”
Like the Church, the Marvel universe has also been dealing with the question, “What is our ultimate purpose?” In Captain America: Winter Soldier, Nick Fury wanted to put huge gun ships in the air to take out hostile threats on land before they did any harm. His plan backfired when the gun ships were reprogrammed to take out the good guys instead of the bad guys. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tony Stark wanted to put “a suit of armor around the world” to protect the world from even bigger threats out in space. “Peace in our time…. Isn’t that the ‘why’ we fight? So we can end the fight? So we get to go home?” To end the fight, Stark created a killer machine intent on destroying all human life. So, that didn’t go well either.
Likewise, Christians who believe God’s plan involves peace on earth may try to hurry that peace along by encouraging unity, respect, and love at the expense of truth, justice, and holiness. I’m sorry, but I cannot agree to that.
Here is what I believe in – what I will fight for – what I won’t compromise on:
· The Bible is true and reliable.
· Jesus Christ is the son of God, and faith in Jesus is the only means of salvation.
· God is sovereign. He’s got the “end game” figured out. He will bring it about in his own timing.
· My job as a Christian is to stand firm in my faith, love God, love others, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Because all Christians don’t agree with these points, the Civil War will go on.
Pick a side and suit up, soldier.