More than same-sex marriage and pedophile priests molesting choir boys, what tears the Christian Church apart is its own followers’ biases and prejudices against each other.
As Christians, we tend to focus too much on our diversity that we forget what it is that unites us: our faith in Jesus Christ, his death for sins, burial, resurrection and our desire to follow His teachings.
But is it possible to have unity in the Christian Church? The answer is yes. Love, understanding and praying for unity are what we need to break down denominational walls in the Church.
With two billion followers, Christianity is the world’s most widely practiced religion. If a family consisting of a father, a mother and their two children may not always see eye to eye, how much more such a huge number of people? Dissension cannot be avoided and there will always be disagreements. It is when we begin to ask, “Whose views are more superior?” that judgment starts. This leads to alienation, and alienation is what creates disunity among us.
Wracked by issues as child sexual molestation by the clergy, contraception, abortion, stem cell research and divorce, the moral authority of the Christian Church is continuously under scrutiny. Also, some denominations within the Christian Church openly support homosexuality and gay marriage even among male priests and consecration of openly gay bishops. This triggers denouncement from other Christian groups which perceive these practices as blasphemous to the Church’s doctrines and damaging to the already fragile image of the Christian faith.
Another issue that has drawn criticisms from both Christians and non-Christians alike is the growing number of churches being established in areas in close proximity of each other. One example of this is a particular town in Texas which only has a population of around 20,000 but 51 churches were built in the area. It seems the Christian Church is taking the words, “Go forth and multiply” too literally. With the problems hounding it, it seems that the Church’s response is to build more churches much like social networking sites sprouting on the internet instead of unifying the members of the existing ones.
Instead of addressing these glaring problems within the organization, church leaders hurl blame against each other. Different denominations preoccupy themselves arguing about non-essential matters like worship styles, Arminianism, Calvinism, etc., instead of uniting on the foundation of Christianity. This somehow proves what most people fear all along, that the Christian Church is the Church of the Disunited.
How can the Christian Church summon enough credibility (and focus as obviously its energies are scattered) to continue to preach the word of God? How can it defend itself from the attacks of other religions when a war is raging within the Church itself? Division and bickering is like a disease that attacks the Christian Church from within, much like an auto immune disease.
How differences can be healthy
A little dose of differences among the members of the Christian Church can be healthy because it leads to dynamism. “For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you,”(1 Cor. 11:19).
According to Romans 14:1-12, we may have differing opinions, but we should not judge each other because “To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind…” God himself will be the judge.
Not one denomination of the Christian Church should consider itself superior and regard the other groups with contempt. Christians may operate under different names, but it should not matter because God gave us no name but his under which to rally.
Unity in the Christian Church is possible
Unity is not achieved by ramming one’s opinions down someone else’s throat and the other person blindly conforming to these. We need to recognize that our differences of opinions and worship styles are fine, but we need to constantly work and pray for unity.
What is important is for us to practice God’s loving and accepting attitude across denominational barriers. When we reject others whom Christ has accepted, it conflicts with the very nature of the Christian faith which preaches about love, forgiveness, self sacrifice, humility, and unity. What God truly meant for us to do is to practice His teachings and spread His word, not sit as judge of the other person.
Would it not be a good way to preach to the world about Christianity if the Christian Church is able to unite despite its differences? Would it not please God if Christians, regardless of denominations, are able to accept and love each other?
Love, acceptance, and praying for unity
Love, acceptance, and praying for unity are the perfect unifying bond for the Christian Church, and these should be tightly woven into the spiritual and moral fiber of the Christian faith. The unity of the Christian Church begins with individuals praying for unity.