There is no major religion in the world more fragmented and splintered than Christianity. The very idea of unity among Christians is so far-fetched that it might as well be a fairytale. Even believers from the same church many times have wildly divergent views on varied issues. This is true even among churches within the same denomination.
People have disagreed about religious doctrine and practice for thousands of years. Every major religion on earth long ago splintered into smaller groups due to differences in interpretation or application of their religious holy books. But, in other religions they do not spend all their times fighting each other.
One of the saddest chapters in the history of the Christian faith is that found in Northern Ireland. God only knows how much blood has been shed over the years as the war between the Catholics and the Protestants raged. Although the conflict was not over doctrinal issues but rather political; the end result was not only the tragic death of many innocent people but a horrible testimony to what happens when brother turns against brother.
The United States Civil War was officially fought over the issues of state’s rights and slavery but in almost every battle it turned into one Christian having to kill another or be killed. It is truly sad that so many young people had to lose their lives in a nation which took great pride in calling itself a Christian nation.
I am sure that many others have the same situation in their family heritage as I have. My grandfather’s descendents (on my mother’s side) split during the civil war. Some of the ancestors sided with the Confederates and moved to a state where they would not be persecuted. Others sided with the Union and stayed in the North. Once split apart, the family has never reunited to this day.
When politics divide a nation, church or family to the point wars break out and brother slays brother—there is something wrong. Yet, there are many occasions in the Old Testament when political disagreements resulted in sons killing their fathers or brothers slaying brothers. It seemed to make little difference if they were all of the same religious faith or not.
As I look around the Christian world, I see a faith on its last legs. I see so many organized denominations there is no one able to document them all. I see almost as many non-denominational churches as ones belonging to a specific denomination. Scattered among these all are countless small groups who are not even an official church. Some have estimated there are probably over 100,000 different groups within Christianity.
Some of these groups get along fine and share resources with each other. Some of these groups hate each other with a passion and try anything to disrupt or destroy the other. The end result is a faith that is blown apart and a body made up of dismembered body parts lying strewn on the ground. In far too many ways, Christianity is like the aftermath of a horrific train wreck.
The apostle Paul gave strong exhortation to the believes to not bite and devour each other. This is because even way back in his day Christians did more to hinder the growth of their faith by fighting each other than the enemy accomplished by fighting against them. It would certainly help immensely in our quest to reach out to a dying world if we worked together more rather than devoting so much of our time and energy to proving we are right and our brother or sister in the faith is wrong.
For all the divisions in Christendom, we can only pray for unity and obey Him.
Only the Lord can bind us together with His love and mercy:
Bind us together, Lord
Bind us together
With cords that cannot be broken
Bind us together, Lord
Bind us together
Bind us together in Love
There is only one God,
There is only one King
There is only one Body,
That is why we sing.
Fit for the glory of God,
Purchased by His precious Blood
Born with the right to be free
Jesus the victory has won.
We are the family of God
We are the promise divine
We are God's chosen desire
We are the glorious new wine.
God forgive if we have been the cause of the discord in your family
and give us Your overcoming love in Jesus and for one another. Amen.
wow, not the most upifting thing to read in the morning. lol
parts I see, others i am wondering why you sounded angry.
Religion is a man made word - which is why it is so completely imperfect.
Thankfully there is no religion in Heaven- can you imagine living like that now? Picture it , driving down the road and seeing churches with no signs that state religion. Just a welcome mats .
On the eve of his arrest, Jesus prayed for our unity.[quote] I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one""as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.
I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. John 17:21-23 [/quote] We would do well to continue that prayer and never forget that above all we are to be witnesses!
I just wanted to say the concept of churches with no signs only welcome mats is so wonderful that it is like a breath of fresh air on a hot and humid day.
Thank you for your comments.
B2Y, great blog, deserves comment.Thanks. Everyone uses Isaiah 53 in how Christ bore our sins and illnesses. Well, it says more than that He bore, He also bore our sorrows (pains), the chastisement (punishment) of our peace was on Him. Isa 53:4,5. We have been freed of all that binds us and separates us. This same Christ asked that we "all be one", hope everyone reading your blog will make that sacrifice. God help.
Dear B2Y--Not to despair. Paul addressed denominational divisiveness in 1 Corinthians, so It's nothing new. But according to 2 Timothy 3, it will get worse as the Day of the Lord approaches. I think a distinction needs to be made between the man-made organizational religion called Christianity and the two betrothed persons, Jesus Christ and His Church.
While churches have, in point of fact, never been more divided and competitive, I must believe that the betrothal between Jesus and His Bride is as strong as it ever was. The living Godhead--Father, Son and Spirit--have never started anything they didn't finish. The day is drawing near when the wedding will be accomplished, the marriage supper will be celebrated and the marriage will be consumated in Glory.
Amen and Maranatha!!!
It is so hard to know when to draw the line with unity and love and seperation from worldliness and to hate the things Jesus Christ hates. He loves but he also hates some things(Read what he writes to the churches in Revelation.) I have such a struggle balancing the both of them in dealing with other believers.
I believe that you have described Christendom rather than true Christianity. When the parable of the seeds sown is applied to Christendom then we have the wheat and tares growing up together and in conflict. It is a tragedy that adherents to Christ are recruited for war, for a simple reading of the New Testament indicates that 'we wrestle not against flesh and blood'. One must temper that with matters of conscience and self-defense - which of course then once again clouds the issue.
Thanks again for your thoughtful and cutting edge blogging,
Satan desires to devour. Anything that belongs to Creator God is a target for Satan. Some of his tools are confusion, divisiveness, anger, jealousy, hatred. (etc.) This is only earth. This is where Satan gets to attempt to gain authority over everything created. He uses people to bring about confusion and divisiveness, and wars. Even today, where there are wars small or large, Satan is using people who desire to achieve power. The opposite of humility is power. Satan tempts us all to desire power over humility. Saten even tempted Jesus with power, and fortunatly for us, He chose humility.
Determined to stay quiet for a while, but could not keep from bringing this one back. I closed with "everyone" in a comment I made here. I need to practice what I say. This is not directed at anybody but me, myself, and I. God Bless.
The division is so wide because Our God is soooooooooooooooooooo Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig! and we each only a see a part of Him. Just like an elephant one sees the head, another the tail, another a leg, another another leg.. and one other the long trunk.. that trumpets water. We want to see Him totally but cant because we are human. But we are looking at the great Big wonderful God who loves us all... so we must love each other... for seeing different perspectives. Perhaps if we accept each other we will see Him more clearly .. and then know how wonderful it is to be called children of God.
Recently, I was very offended by a family member. His faith is not like mine and so he condemns and rejects me because I won't believe what he believes. I would like to have a relationship with him but he cannot get past trying to win me over or making me adopt his views.
Daily, I pray that the Lord blesses him and his family. Maybe someday he will be able to tolerate differences that people have and stop needing others to be like him.
No two people will ever be alike. Even as Christians, everyone will be working one on one with the Lord and becoming what He wants them to become. Remember what the Lord told Peter when Peter asked about John, "What about him?" Jesus basically told Peter not to worry about John but to follow Jesus.
There are many churches and most of the people involved in churches are truly seeking Christ. Most of them are walking in the Light that they have been given and doing what they know to do. If a man be blind, let him have no sin. The Lord will reveal new light to each person who trusts in Him according to His will and when He thinks they are able to accept the new light and walk in it and obey Him that much more.
I personally think the divisions are part of God's plan, otherwise they would not exist, would they? What is the one thing that can unify people no matter what color, creed, clan, tribe, or church denomination? It is LOVE. The unity of the Body of Christ is found in love, the way we love God and love each other, inspite of our differences and our denominations. To be a member of the Body of Christ you must be born again.
Jesus will get us where we need to be, each and everyone of us. I have learned to tell others, Don't worry about me.
Well the bible did warn us about false doctrine. Religion I dont care for since God isnt concerned with but only with our souls, heart and the way we live. People need to find the truth for themselves. God will deal with the ones that are giving false doctrine. Our job as tru e Christians is not to fight with them or each other but to stand up for God everytime that we get a chance. Our job is to correct them in a peaceful manner. I can assume that its only going to get worse. and I think that this is the end of Christianity, there's still hope.
Be careful that you don't confuse "unity" with emergent church theology. I hate nobody with a passion, but don't accept all teachings of all churches. I particularly like Philip Malcthanon 1647: In the essential doctrines, unity; God's Unity; God's Tri-unity; Christ's Trinity; Christ's Humanity; Human Depravity; Christ's Virgin Birth; Christ's Sinless ness; Christ's Atoning Death; The Bodily Resurrection of Christ; The Necessity of Grace; The Necessity of Faith; The Bodily Ascension of Christ; Christ's Priestly Intercession; Christ's Bodily Second Coming; The Inspiration of Scripture; The Literal Interpretation of Scripture. In the non-essential doctrines, liberty: The Procession of the Holy Spirit; Forms of Church Government; Grace, Faith, and Works; The Extent of Salvation; The Candidate, Mode, and Efficacy of Baptism; The Nature and Function of Communion; The Nature of Sanctification; The Use of Musical Instruments in Worship; The Nature of Spiritual Gifts; The Day of Worship; The Order of Second-Coming Events; The Role of Women. In all things, charity.