2. Partisan Affiliation
Partisan influence over the church has become more apparent over the last two years. Pastors and Christian leaders have boldly rallied behind and supported their preferred politicians. It doesn’t require much searching to find a wide selection of sermons filled with partisan politics shared from various pulpits all throughout America.
So many of the contentious issues in our society today have become partisan issues. If you support X, then you belong to this party and that’s good. If you don’t support X, then you belong to that party, and that’s bad. Partisan affiliation has sometimes become a reason a believer stays or leaves their current congregation. For example, churches are now known by the stance they have decidedly taken for or against COVID-19 safety guidelines.
The local church is now more aligned based on partisan views than by Jesus. This shift in the American church is one of the leading drivers for disunity among believers. It’s as if our partisan affiliations have become more important than Jesus.
What makes it even worse is that we don’t actually want to recognize this truth. So we mask this toxic culture in our Christian faith. We tell ourselves that our strong stance for a political party and their agenda is actually the “Christian way.” This is the lie we continue to tell ourselves instead of dealing with the fact that our partisan associations have become more important to us than Jesus.
Outrage, anger, and hostility have become accepted among believers in ways that even non-Christians can see is anti-Christian.
Uniformed partisan views are never what the bible meant by divine unity among believers. We need divine unity to allow us to move past partisan divides.
This is so complicated and there are no easy answers for how we go about correcting the havoc this has wreaked on our churches, but we must recognize what is happening and ask for the Holy Spirit to bring the type of unity we read about in scripture.
3. Denominational Allegiance
The harm of denominational arrogance seems to have shifted into the shadows in light of the destruction that partisan affiliation is causing in our churches. But this is still a top reason the church remains divided.
I will be the first to admit that this is a challenging element of the modern Christian faith, because I don’t think we should get rid of denominations. But I can also recognize the way they make unity more difficult.
Just imagine what our world could look like if different denominations were willing to stand side by side in working for the kingdom. There are ways Christian denominations could be more open to working together and not writing off a ministry, effort, or organization simply because they are a different denomination.
We are now at the point where many Christians are operating in their denominational silos and refuse to step outside of them. From schools, to mission agencies, publishing companies, and media sources, denominations are working independent of one another.
The nuances of different denominations are helpful as believers work through the secondary and tertiary matters of faith, but too often we move these areas of disagreement to the first tier. We treat other denominations as if they have understood the faith completely wrong, and our denomination is the only one that got it right.
The indoctrination in certain denominations is worse than others and it leads towards an arrogant spirit. It’s a good thing to align yourself with the denomination that supports your theological views, but you must also leave room to value and understand another denominational view.
Divine Unity Starts With Diversity
The church’s struggle with unity is rooted in us rallying around the wrong thing. We want to form our unity with those who look like us, think like us, and can relate to us. It’s natural to gravitate to those who are most like us.
Our understanding of unity is to drive out diversity. But Jesus wants to unify us while maintaining diversity.
Biblical unity is not something we can program into our churches. It truly must be a work of the Spirit. It is divine. We must recognize the ways we try to drive out diversity and surrender those tendencies to Jesus.
This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.