Absurdity in the Church
February 28, 2007 • By Ed Wrather
Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved. I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life. - Philippians 4:1-3 NKJV.
There was a routine appendix operation underway in Belgrade. Everything appeared to be fine; however, that was before the operation took a turn for the worst. No, the patient did not suddenly have some unforeseen complication. No, the surgeon did not make an unfortunate mistake in the surgery itself. No, the anesthesiologist did not administer the wrong medication. So, what happened? Dr. Spasoie Radulovic was performing the operation when there was a disruption. The anesthesiologist explains, “At one moment Dr. Dragan Vukanic pulled the ear of the operating doctor, slapped him in the face and walked out.” Dr. Radulovic who was performing the operation, abruptly followed the other doctor outside and the fight was on. Reportedly, the doctors involved suffered bruises, loose teeth, split lips, and a fractured finger. Thankfully, the assistant doctor for the surgery was able to complete the operation.
Can you imagine if you were a family member of the person having the surgery and saw your doctor leave the operating room and become involved in a fight? It is almost unthinkable for a situation like the one described to have actually happened. I have never heard of something like that happening! Surgeries are difficult enough without having to fight with another surgeon during the operation. Even in a war zone where there are distractions from incoming fire, and multiple traumatic wounded soldiers there is not the added stress of having to fight fellow doctors. Normally, the focus is on the injured, the hurting, and the one who needs medical attention and not on individual personalities of medical personnel.
The apostle Paul gives us a hint of a situation in the church that is just as absurd as what happened in Belgrade. Paul says, “I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.” Apparently, there was a serious disagreement between the two so much so that their names remain forever in the Scriptures. These were not new Christians or immature Christians. No, Euodia, and Syntyche had “labored with” Paul “in the Gospel.” These were not just any Christians, but serious Christians who had once labored mightily for the cause of Christ. What a tragedy! You can sense the pain of Paul as he says these words because such a thing ought not to be.
For those involved in a breach in the unity of the church, it means they are out of fellowship not only with others in the body of Christ, but with the Lord Himself. With the eternal destinies of so many at risk, it is even worse than a surgeon walking out in the middle of surgery to have a fistfight. If you are involved in such a situation, I implore you just as the apostle Paul implored Euodia and Syntyche to “be of the same mind in the Lord.” Reconciliation between those involved in a breach in the fellowship could result in others being convicted of their need to turn back to the Lord as well. The end result could be a revival that begins in your church and spreads from church to church impacting the entire world.