After doing my post on the church, I still have a question I have to ask: Why on earth do we continue to have church splits? Why are we unable to be grown-ups and learn to deal with one another despite our differences in different aspects of theology?
I talked to a pastor-friend of mind who told me that he experienced a church split simply because no one could agree on what color to paint the sanctuary walls! It was a very large church as well. I cannot believe people would leave a church because of a paint job! There are in fact, a lot of other reasons people leave churches though that perhaps seems a little more valid. Churches split over the issues of baptism (how to do it, when to do it, how old a child should be, should it be a believer’s baptism or should we baptize babies?), communion (should we put it in the silver plates or should we allow people to dunk their bread in the juice or should we use wine? Should we do it every week, once a month, when we finish studying a topic or a book of the Bible?), the way the Bible is taught (Book by book, chapter by chapter, topical, story telling, etc…), or even race (a white church often attracts white people while a black church will often attract black people).
I thought I understood all of this until I started dealing with the issues of denominations, which I think divide the body of Christ more than any other issue the church faces. Much to my astonishment, I found out when I was a freshman in college that there were a lot of different types of Baptist churches – too many to name them all). Not just Baptists but other denominational churches had “sub denominations” that divided even the denominations into denominations. It has gotten so bad that we now have “non-denominational” churches, which are branded a non-denominational denominational church! When does it end? Why do we have to split?
The last time I read the Bible, I saw that there was one body of Christ made of many members. There are not many bodies with many members. I don’t know what we are going to do as a body of Christ when we get to heaven. Are we all going to sit in our little sections and worship God? The Baptists will be up front while the Methodists sit in the back. All the white people will sit together while all the black people are segregated and the Latinos and the Asians sit off to the sides? I don’t think so (Amen to that)! We are all going to stand together. We are a multi ethnic, multi cultural body of believers who bear the image of Christ. If we cannot get this issue right now, how on earth are we going to do it in heaven?
The Lord’s Prayer says, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” In Revelation we read that people from every trip, nation, and tongue will praise God and worship Him.” Therefore, if God wills it in heaven – being something that we will actually experience in heaven – don’t you think we should probably get it right down here and worship together?
If you want to baptize your baby – great! If you would like to wait until your child has received Christ as their Savior and Lord – great! We still worship the same God and are still saved by His blood. If you believe the KJV Bible is the only Bible for you – great! If your neighbor reads the NIV or the ESV because they enjoy how wooden it is – great! This is no reason to split a church!
I am sorry to get on my soapbox about this but it bothers me that I continually hear about how a church split over something ridiculous as a paint job or something of that nature. Satan – no doubt – gets joy out of all of this because we have inflicted this issue upon ourselves. He didn’t have to do any work but tell people to build their own churches – thus splitting the church. Most of the reasons I have heard concerning church splits are selfish. They ultimately do not include God in the process.
Please feel free to respond if you would like to this post. I am sure I have offended someone or some denomination – a pastor who might read this. Well I am not sorry for my post. We are the collective body of Christ and we need to start acting like it. I don’t care what form your gathering/church looks like. As long as we are embodying the body of Christ, that is the most important aspect. We must glorify Christ and His goodness. That should be our aim, our drive, and our purpose.