Disunity is an earmark of denominationalism that is apparent for anyone who is even halfway observant. The term denominationalism means, at its base, division! It has produced, and it nurtures, blatant division among most of those who call themselves Christian. All of the different denominations have their own names, their own doctrines, their own plans of salvation, their own systems of church structure and government and their own individualized worship. The non-Christian world can easily be left in a state of confusion, not knowing which brand of Christianity to believe and follow.
The Lord’s church must always be on guard to not become another denomination. We must stand on the authority of God’s word, and God’s word alone, for what we believe and teach and practice. We must remain distinctive in that we do not add to, or take from, the doctrines set forth in the Bible. We must be content and determined to be nothing more or less than the church described in the Bible. We need to be focused on always presenting a clear image of that church to the world around us.
The church cannot be destroyed through attacks from outside forces. “The Revelation” makes that clear. But if the devil can get inside the church and instigate disunity, then he can inflict all kinds of damage. That disunity can ultimately lead to outright division. Division, at the very least, can stymie the effectiveness of the church and, at worst, bring it down.
The devil does not need to completely destroy the church. By instigating disunity, and there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the devil has always been behind every case of disunity in the history of the Lord’s church, he can severely curtail the church’s effectiveness and tarnish her image. If the church has to focus on dealing with internal disunity, then it cannot give that focus to its work of teaching the gospel. In fact, a case can be made that the devil’s purpose is better served by keeping the church’s attention diverted from doing the work it should be doing, teaching and evangelizing, by having to deal with the turmoil that disunity can create. A most effective diversion!
The church is the Lord’s body. Every member should be a functioning unit of the body. Each member should always be on guard to not let the devil use them as an instrument of disunity. To become such an instrument would be to damage the effectiveness of the body. It’s a slick trick on the part of the devil. Let us never fall for the trick! Let us always strive to exemplify the unity that Jesus prayed for on the night of His betrayal, a unity that sets as its standard the unity between God and Christ (Jn. 17:20-21).
When tensions or difficulties arise, we need to remember that we’re brothers and sisters in Christ with God as our Father. His will would be for love to prevail (Jn. 13:34-35). Paul’s instruction to Euodia and Synteche, sisters in Christ in the congregation at Philippi, to work out their differences (Phlp. 4:2-3) should guide all members of the Lord’s church to be determined to do exactly that and never contribute to strife or division within the body. The denominational world needs to see our positive example…
Gary L. Hutchens