One who wants more than what Christ has established does not want Christian brotherhood. He is looking for some extraordinary social experience which he has not found elsewhere;he is bringing muddled and impure desires into Christian brotherhood.
This mindset Bonhoeffer wrote of, is not unique to his context. This same mindset is very much alive and thriving today, in churches across America. Growing like a massive colony of E.coli, cliques could be the reason for the ineffectiveness of some churches. Cliques could very well melt down genuine fellowship, ministry, and core leadership. Reducing every moment of Christian contact to a country club, in which not all are invited to.
What is a clique you may ask? As per the Merriam-Webster Dictionary a clique is:
a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially:one held together by common interests, views, or purposes
What does this mean for the church body in regards to fellowship? A better question would be: What does the bible say about Christian fellowship?
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. – Acts 2:42-45
What we see in the book of Acts is the Holy Spirit bringing people together for God‘s glory. Equipping them with everything they need to further the message of Jesus. And God uses us as a means to teach, break bread with one another, pray with/for one another, and lastly share our stuff with one another. I see no mention of cliques, factions, or anything of the sort within the local church in the book of Acts, I see the opposite.
Why have so many of us gone this road? Why is there clicking(clique-ing)? One culprit is sin. Sin in the form of self-righteousness. Thinking you are superior to anyone, and only hang out with people who are superior to everyone as well. Another culprit is bad teaching. Prosperity preachers, or life principle preachers often teach the Abraham principle. That is Abraham and Lot were together but they had to separate. The preacher would then say that you too have people you should separate from. Most times it’s someone who isn’t benefiting you within fellowship. We then have the Elijah and the widow principle. That is connect to someone who can benefit you, as Elijah benefited the widow.
These two realities, sin and bad teaching, are breeding grounds for cliques, and factions that can become harmful to the local church. The reason why in the inner city people are passed by and not being confronted with the Gospel is because some of our local churches don’t step up(In New Jersey for that matter). The reason why some of our local churches don’t step up is because they’re to busy biting each other’s heads off. Let’s pray for one another, let’s repent of our self-righteousness, and let’s serve each other and our communities.
This is what happens when God’s people come together devoted, and all in for God’s teaching, God’s people, and prayer:
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. – Acts 2:46-47
Let’s get it like Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:
The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer.
Pray for one another, eat with one another, share with one another. Not being exclusive to those you rather be with, but being a Christian who understands the value of Christ’ blood and the brotherhood therein. Understanding that Christians don’t click (Clique) like a car does, but moves like a body does. Hope this would encourage all who read it, to reach out this week to someone you usually wouldn’t. Pray for someone you usually pass by on Sundays, and share with someone you don’t usually associate with.
“We need to trace the book of Acts” – Ian McConnel