The Cure For Denominational Division

by Darwin Hunter

 

All who profess Christianity must wonder at times why there is so much confusion and division in religious matters.  Why are there so many churches, with so many beliefs, and so many diverse practices?  Any thinking person realizes that it is detrimental to the progress of the Gospel in the world.  A Muslim or a Buddhist would conclude that the entire system is flawed, and that it cannot offer hope for mankind since those who profess it are hopelessly divided and confused about what Christianity is.  This is why Jesus prayed the prayer of John 17:20-21.  He expressed His desire for unity among His disciples lest division become a “turn-off’ to the world.  Indeed, it has become an obstacle to the conversion of many.

What is the cure for such rancor and division?  The solution is embedded in the text of John 17.  In 17:17, Jesus gave the answer: “Thy word is truth.” True unity would be based on more than “agreeing to disagree” since that just embraces the division.  It would not be based on “unity in diversity” which proposes unity on a few “big issues” (the deity of Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection) and ignoring what is deemed to be “lesser issues” (salvational matters, worship practices, etc.) since that makes some things taught by God to be trivial and insignificant (who wants to take that position?).  That idea puts man in the position of deciding what part of the inspired teaching is important, and what is “fluff and filler” in the Bible to be disregarded.  Any doctrine which puts man in the position of judging God’s Word must be false!

Realizing that God’s Word is ultimate truth, and that the way marked out in His Word can never be wrong, is the only way to unity.  As long as men appeal to human writings as authoritative, there will be division.  As long as a man judges a doctrine or practice on the basis of “what my creed says,” there will be division. As long as men clamor for “what we have always traditionally believed and practiced” as authoritative, there will be denominational splintering.  As long as humans keep exalting “I think” over what GOD SAYS, there will be confusion in Christianity.  The cure for denominationalism is for all to accept and submit to the Lord’s powerful principle: “Thy word is truth” and nothing else is!  It is a recognition that there can be only one standard in Christianity—the divinely, revealed Gospel (Romans 1:16), the New Covenant that our Lord mediated (Hebrews 9:15).  That alone must be our law, or the division which the Lord hates, and which we also detest, will continue to ravage the religious world!