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They Can’t Understand Our Division

Posted by on Aug 7, 2010 in unity | 11 comments

They Can’t Understand Our Division

One of the things that the Ethiopian that I talked to could not understand is the amount of division among the church in America and the Western world.

I told them that some neighbors who are part of different churches have very little or even no fellowship with one another. And they just shook their heads… they couldn’t understand it.

I told them that church buildings might be located directly beside or across the street from one another, but the people who meet in each building may have very little or no interaction with one another. And they just shook their heads… they couldn’t understand it.

I told them that churches in the same city and often of the same denomination will not work together to proclaim the gospel and serve the people of their community. And they just shook their heads… they couldn’t understand it.

Why do we accept this kind of division in the body of Christ?


11 Comments

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  1. 8-7-2010

    Maybe because we don’t see it as division, it is just how things are and even perhaps healthy. Perhaps because we see church as an activity to check off our list each week instead of a life to be lived. More likely because fellow-shipping with those we disagree with might require a little patience and self-sacrifice.

  2. 8-7-2010

    We have lost sight of the only thing that we should divide over – the gospel itself.

    I hear many Christians today speak about secondary issues as if they are worth dividing over. While doing this, they claim to be biblical. Interestingly, and sadly, they at the same time ignore all the commands to be united. These commands, to many, only apply within their own local church or denomination.

  3. 8-7-2010

    All I know is that Christ is not divided so if we, as the church, are then we should be seriously asking ourselves why that is.

  4. 8-7-2010

    What I find interesting is that I am surprised that they can function with the buildings and separate local bodies and NOT be the way we are. I guess that just goes to show the mindset of extreme individualism in our culture. I would guess, having never been there, of course, that the reason they don’t have that separation is that they are much more connected culturally, apart from the building or church organization, than we are.

    Mark

  5. 8-7-2010

    Alan,

    Denominationalism is by definition, separation. A key attribute of American culture is our rugged individualism. Churches compete for limited funds by competing for members. Proclaiming the gospel has never been the primary focus of the American church.

    When you add that all up, is a lack of unity all that surprising or is it exactly what you would expect?

  6. 8-7-2010

    American individualism pervades our churches as well.

  7. 8-8-2010

    Eric

    How do you define “the gospel itself” and “secondary issues”?

  8. 8-9-2010

    Christ is not divided. We are not divided. We are one just as Christ is one with the Father. Now… if we could only submit to the Spirit and live in that unity. Any lack of unity displayed disobedience and a failure to submit to the Spirit or walk in the Spirit.

    -Alan

  9. 8-9-2011

    Because I’m doctrinally right and they’re not. Plus, we have better hot dish.

  10. 1-25-2012

    Ask them about the persecution of the Meserete Kristos Church by the Derg in the 1970’s and 1980’s and how the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia participated in it…might put it in context somewhat even if our divisions here are no longer that extreme.

  11. 1-25-2012

    Robert,

    Yes, there are certainly divisions among the “church” in Ethiopia, especially when we consider the Orthodox. However, the division does not seem to filter down to the people in the villages where I visited. If you are a brother or sister in Christ, then they treat you as such. This was the part that they could not understand, especially among American Christians who live beside one another or work together every day. Their attitude was very refreshing, actually.

    -Alan