I was thinking about division lately. No one can look at the division that we see in Christianity and be happy with it. Specifically, I made a list of what I felt were causes of division. Read the list, then feel free to add your input.
- Tradition–One of the key reasons that the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus was His disregard for their traditions. He rightfully exposed their traditions as means to avoid the word of God. They had made their traditions equal with the word, and some of those traditions were contrary to the word.
The problem of tradition is still clearly seen today. Individuals are brought up in certain types of churches and our convinced that what that church teaches is the truth. They do not take the time to investigate whether or not what they believe is true, or simply tradition. Further they do not see that some traditions are keeping them from God.
- Greed and Power–There are individuals who start churches for the purpose of greed and power. They want to use people for money so they start a church, and dress their greed up as Christianity. Peter speaks of these types of folks in 2 Peter 2. They use Christianity as a means to make money. What is sad is that many people follow these false teachers. They give money to them. They fill their buildings. They allow personality and flare to supersede truth.
- Desire to SIn–Some people simply want to find a place that they can “do church” and still sin. There are churches all over the world, who change God’s teachings to accommodate sin.
- Leaving Apostolic Teaching–The Apostles were given the responsibility to share with the world the teaching of Jesus. They were given the ability to show what God has bound and what God has loosed. They shared with people how they could have fellowship with God. In 1 John 1, we are told that we can have fellowship with God, if we stay with the teachings of the apostles.
However, John speaks of the fact that some left the Apostle’s teachings. Instead of submitting themselves to the teaching of the Apostles, they went their own way. If truth be told this has been the story of division throughout. As soon as a group leaves apostolic teaching division occurs.
- Lack of Love for Truth–A common teaching in the New Testament is that you have to love truth to not follow error. In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul warns the truth that if they do not love truth then they will believe every lie. Believing the lie will lead them into apostasy. When people do not love the truth, when they are not willing to sacrifice for the truth, when they are not willing to accept its message no matter the difficulty, then we have division.
So what would you add? Or what do you disagree with?