Sectarianism and Schism

Posted on Updated on


“Divide and rule, the politician cries;
Unite and lead, is watchword of the wise.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Gedichte

The Danger of Schism Sectarianism and Schism

We’ve been noticing and remarking on the ever-increasing number of denominations, church splits, and intramural sectarianism in the wider Protestant world. This not an issue Protestants can or should easily sweep aside. It is quite true that schism is a fruit of sin and unfaithfulness, and it hurts our testimony.

The apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthians for having a sectarian spirit: “Each one of you is saying, ‘I am of Paul,’ and ‘I of Apollos,’ and ‘I of Cephas,’ and ‘I of Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor. 1:12-13). Later in the epistle he added, “For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one” (3:4-5).

Deliberately causing schisms in the body of Christ is a demonic sin—so much so that divisive people are not to be tolerated in the church. In Matthew 18, Christ outlined a series of four steps churches should go through in calling a sinning brothers to repentance. But when someone is schismatic, Paul says, that discipline process may be accelerated. He wrote in Titus 3:10-11: “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”

It’s fair to ask, then, if schism is such a serious sin, why are there so many different denominations? The Protestant Reformation gave rise to Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, Anglicanism, Congregationalism, Methodism, Episcopalianism, the Plymouth Brethren, the Open Brethren, the Closed Brethren, the Church of Christ, the Church of the Nazarene, the Church of God, the Assemblies of God, Holiness churches, Pentecostal churches, Dutch Reformed churches, Christian Reformed churches, Protestant Reformed churches, Baptists, Reformed Baptists, Sovereign Grace Baptists, Landmark Baptists, Independent Baptists, American Baptists, Southern Baptists, Freewill Baptists, General Baptists, Regular Baptists, Particular Baptists, and Strict and Particular Baptists.

Let’s be honest: one can hardly blame non-Christians for being nonplussed by the variety. The pagan from a non-Christian society is not likely to look at Christendom and say, “Behold, how they love one another.”

The Necessity of Separation

The Necessity of Separation On the other hand, we who are Christians must understand that Christendom is not “the church.” All who call themselves Christians are not true followers of Christ—and there’s no reason we should try to make Moslems or Hindus think all varieties of so-called Christianity are truly Christian.

Just because a church or denomination calls itself “Christian” does not mean it is part of the body of Christ. That has been true even from biblical times. Consider, for example, the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. At least one was totally apostate and three or four others were already apostatizing. We know from Jesus’ warning to the church at Laodicea that it is possible for a church to abandon the truth so completely that Christ Himself will reject that church and spew it out of His mouth.

True Christians must not fellowship with such apostate groups (2 Cor. 6:15-17; Eph. 5:11).

In other words, some degree of doctrinal purity is a valid prerequisite for organizational unity. It’s simply wrong to set aside all our doctrinal differences for the sake of an artificial organizational “unity.” This is particularly true of those doctrinal issues that are immediately germane to the gospel. In fact, the apostle Paul taught that so-called “Christians” who corrupt or compromise the utter freeness of justification are not to be regarded as brethren at all! He pronounced a curse on them (Gal. 1:8-9). The apostle John taught the same thing (2 John 7-11).

Since the major point at issue between Protestants and Catholic or Orthodox traditions is the gospel (particularly the doctrine of justification by faith—which is the very point Paul wrote to defend in his epistle to the Galatians), it is utterly fatuous to suggest that a show of external unity should take precedence over our doctrinal differences. It is tantamount to saying Christians are not supposed to be concerned with truth at all.

It is my prayer that we all grow mature in the spirit and keep our focus on Jesus, He and He alone is the only thing that can save us and has saved us. It is finished, now we have to man up and do our part despite whatever the enemy spits out through our friends, our church leaders, our lay people, our visitors, our messengers, whatever mature and quite yourself to resolve in prayer and being a positive model as our savior to defeat these divisions. Love is our commandment remember.

Like my post? Please support me by clicking on the Mersi button

Mersi ME!

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Sectarianism and Schism

    web page said:
    September 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

    With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My website has a lot of unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but
    it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization.
    Do you know any techniques to help reduce content from being ripped off?
    I’d truly appreciate it.

      blessedaaron08 responded:
      September 26, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Hello Sister, I have a great spirit of gratitude towards you this morning for investing your time in review of any article on fresh oil. I also would like to thank you for asking for input related to the protection of your content. I really don’t have any thing specific to invest into you about that issue because I don’t have those thoughts about what happens to my content. I myself apply due-diligence in material that I desire to glean from others and I follow as much as possible to adhere to copyright.

      I think having a prayerful spirit and desire for your material to be a balm of Gilead to others makes the difference. I have not embarked upon wanting to write a book for sale so I don’t have that concern. I do have material that I have not shared on the web that I do intend to copyright. So that’s how I move in this passion I have been given. I hope something said in this helps you. I find it interesting that you chose this topic to speak on, how did you feel about the subject matter contained within it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s