The Church, A Divided House

In Christian RealTalk, Series by Antwuan Malone10 Comments

Why Is the Church So Divided?

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

[This is part of the Unity: John Thirteen Thirty Five Series]

Here’s a question.

How many churches do you pass on the way to the church you go to?

How many churches are in within a mile of your neighborhood?

If you’re like most people in America, the answer is “Several.” Because, in America, there are just about as many churches as there are Seven-Elevens, maybe even more. For many of us that’s just fine. It’s the norm, actually.

But what do the existence of all these churches say about us?  What does the existence of our plethora of church buildings communicate to the outside world? Does it communicate that we are divided?

Afraid so.

This series is meant to explore how divided the church really is (or at least appears to be).  Jesus told his disciples that the world would know we are his disciples because of our love for each other.  Jesus was saying to them that the way they treat each other, disciple-to disciple, would show the world they were Christians.  Can the world tell we are Christians by how our churches love other?

Afraid not.

So what stands in the way of a unified church front? Why can’t God’s church seem to get on the same page and show the world a picture of God’s family the way he intends?  That’s what this series will discuss. There are many reasons Christians appear divided, but we’ll explore four of them: Competition, Finances, Race Relations, and Doctrinal Differences.  I hope you read along and contribute to exposing (and offering some possible solutions) to one of the most ignored issues in this age.

The Church is divided, and that needs to change!

[This is part of the Unity: John Thirteen Thirty Five Series]

Church Unity image

Noooo, Simba and Nala! Don't fight!

 

Tell me (below) why you think the church is so divided!

 

 

The following two tabs change content below.
Antwuan Malone is a Ministry Director at ELEVATE Young Adult Ministry (elevateministry.net) where empowers young adults toward Christian leadership. He is passionate about seeing young adults take their place in church history by drawing near enough to God to hear his call on their life, and courageously living in obedience to that call.
9 comments
Carl Rooker
Carl Rooker

I believe that your list can be paired down to 2 things.


1.  We are bickering about secondary doctrines (not those that define us as Followers of Jesus Christ), instead of focusing upon He who is the head of our Body, Christ our Lord.


2.  We ignor His commands to love each other.  We may talk love, and give a lot of money, but we have missed His point.

@JordanLRice
@JordanLRice

Antwuan, great article first off. I really think that the four causes of division you cited (competition, finances, race relations and doctrinal differences) are MAJOR causes of division in the Christian community; however, if I can add one more, I'd say its a lack of a unified mission. I think that the first century church was far more unified in their mission for a number of reasons, none being more important than the intense opposition they faced. Its fairly easy for me to notice that you believe in slightly different things about non-essential topics in today's climate in America. But if we were somewhere were it was illegal to be a Christian, punishable by prison or death, I bet our compatibility would be a whole lot different. In Saudi Arabia I bet people don't divide based on competition or finances; because quite frankly, nobody cares about that stuff when you can get killed or thrown in prison for a decade for holding a bible. I guess the bottom line of what I'm saying is that in places where there is a significant opposition against the church, only Christians say they're Christian. In places like America where the vast majority of people glibly associate with religion, the same is not true. Now, I'm grateful to God that I live somewhere where my life and liberty are not threatened because of my faith, but in both ancient and recent history its clear that opposition serves to unify. How can we unite as Christians in America? I have no clue, but I do know there needs to be a more unified mission.

James
James

How many churches do you pass on the way to the church you go to? In my case, zero. That's because I don't attend a church or any other religious group currently. The modern church makes my spider-sense tingle. That, and the fact that my wife and children are Jewish make me shy about churches since I'd just as soon not try to explain it all in a Sunday school meeting and then get verbally beaten for being "unequally yoked". I'm also about as untraditional a Christian as you can get, since my current "mission" in life is to explore my Christian faith through classic Jewish teachings including the Talmud and Chasidic writings (see what I mean). Samples of my thoughts are freely available, including my own commentary about why we (in my case, I mean Christians and Jews) can't seem to get along: Click on me!

@antwuanmalone
@antwuanmalone

You make an excellent point Jordan. The little things that divide us only do so because we don't have more pressing issues. Struggle does have a way of boiling away the unnecessary things. It's funny, but I think the mission is similar (in verbiage, at least) for the most part, but it seems we just don't want to help each other achieve it. Thank you for your great response, I look forward to conversing with you more on this...

@antwuanmalone
@antwuanmalone

Spider Sense tingling... awesome! What is the main reason you get such a weird feeling about church? Is it every church?

@JordanLRice
@JordanLRice

Thanks for the blog, its a conversation that REALLY REALLY needs to happen in a lot more places and thankfully, I see it sprouting up a little bit more now. You're right though, if you look at our actions, we really don't want to help each other achieve anything, although I'm sure we would all say we do. I'm horrified that on race relations alone, we're still exactly where MLK Jr. said we were 50 years ago, Sunday 11am is still the most segregated hour of America. And please don't remind me about the competition part, I'll be depressed for the rest of the day. I personally know of examples where on one block there are 3 African-American Baptist churches, and all of them are underfunded and ineffective, but they wouldn't even think of joining together. Crazy stuff my man. Doctrinal differences, and I mean serious doctrinal differences are the only thing I can understand and (partly) agree with. I went to a very liberal Seminary and I wouldn't join forces with some of those people to save my life, but again it comes back to us not having a unified mission.

James
James

I haven't been to every church, so it's difficult to say. However, in my past church experience, once my wife's Judaism became known (we attended church together at that time), the reaction of various church members left a rather bad taste in my mouth. Since I left the church, periodically, I've encountered Christians who don't have very good things to say about Jewish people. Since they're also talking about my wife, my kids, and my in-laws, it's difficult for me to swallow the experience. In the past several years, my wife has become more involved in the Jewish community and has left the church behind, making us a "mixed-marriage". I've considered returning to church, but the thought makes me nervous. I'd much rather keep the Shabbat and build a Sukkah in my backyard on Sukkot (Festival of Booths), than attend a Christmas play or eat a big ham dinner on Easter. Nevertheless, my faith in Jesus is fully intact, and what makes my studies in Judaism all the more fascinating is how they reveal Jesus as the Messiah. .

Carl Rooker
Carl Rooker

@James  It is a true shame that many who call themselves Christians expect others to be perfect when they are not perfect themselves.  Why are they chiding you for an "unequal yoke", instead of praying for you and your family, and accepting you as you are?  Jesus does, but many do not understand that.  They also foget that Jesus died for the Jew first.


We are all in need of trusting the Messiah.  Insulting your wife and kids is NOT the way to draw them in. May God grant you grace and peace, and may the Mesiah touch your wife's and your children's heart.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Divided – Adventist Voice | The Church, A Divided House | A Church Divided – The Center for Investigative […]