Acts 15:36-41 recounts the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas over whether to take John Mark with them on their second missionary journey. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark, but Paul was against it because he had left them during their first journey. The disagreement was so sharp that Paul and Barnabas ended up separating, with Barnabas taking John Mark with him to Cyprus and Paul recruiting Silas as his companion for the journey.
The implications for modern-day Christians are that disagreements over mission strategies and personnel can happen even among mature believers. Christians must learn to resolve conflicts in a way that preserves unity and further the mission of the Church. Christians should seek God’s guidance in decision-making and remain open to others’ perspectives. They should also remember that grace and forgiveness are crucial in resolving disputes and maintaining healthy relationships. Finally, even when believers disagree and separate, the mission of the Church must carry on.
Regardless of where you fall in your thoughts on disaffiliation, I pray that we all follow the example of Paul and Barnabas. May we conduct ourselves as Christians, as followers of the risen Christ who loved us all so much that he gave up heaven to come to earth to live and walk with us. Our Savior who forewent being right to save us.
It won’t be easy, but it wasn’t easy for Jesus. But Jesus told us in John 15:12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Whether we agree or disagree with each other. Whether we agree to disagree with each other. If we are going to follow Jesus’ command, we must conduct ourselves with love.
MSAC Bible Challenge