Saturday, October 3, 2009

Division: One of Our Strongest Beliefs

It is very clear in scripture that what we say we believe must be supported by our actions. James, in particular, is very clear about this.

Within the evangelical American church, one of our strongest held beliefs must be that division is a good thing. The reason I write this is that our actions (constant division over non-gospel issues) indicate that we believe separation to be beneficial.

We may say that helping the sick, poor, and needy is important, but if we don't act on this stated belief, then we don't really believe it. We may say that riches and comfort are not important to the kingdom of God, but if we pursue these things, then we are saying that we believe otherwise.

If we say unity is important, but divide from other Christians over baptism, the Lord's Supper, speaking in tongues, predestination/free will, style of music, Sunday School/small groups, size of church, etc., etc., etc., then what we believe is that division is not only acceptable but a good thing.

We end up believing that unity is good, but only with people who we agree with on just about everything. We far too often take the biblical exhortation toward unity of all believers, and change it to mean unity toward only those who are members of our own local congregation.

If we don't believe that unity is important, then we should read our bibles some more. If we say unity is important, then our actions must support this.

It is time to work on unity within the entire body of Christ. Let us make our actions support what we say we believe.


Aussie John said...


That division will remain until we can be clear in our own hearts until our relationship with the Father, and with one another, rests in Jesus Christ and His finished work alone. So many of us, pastors included, are not clear on this matter, as well as having other agendas.

Alan Knox said...

But, Eric, we're so good at dividing. We're known for our dividing. We pride ourselves in our distinctives. What you're talking about is just craziness!

Now... seriously... Jesus said that people will know that the Father sent him because of our unity (John 17). I wonder if its valid to say that the opposite may also be true: people deny that the Father sent Jesus because of our divisiveness.


Eric said...

John and Alan,

I think, in the end, we must be united in Christ, and people must know that we are united in Christ.