There are many reasons for division in Christianity which we shall be unfolding in our writing. We must start by saying that the rate of division, confusion, disagreement, and misunderstanding in today’s Church is more than alarming. However, we are not saying here that the early Churches were free from these issues. When we read Apostle Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians, we hear him calling Christians to cease all forms of division in the holy body of Christ. He further explains that as Christians, we are all one in the body of Christ within which there is no division but unity.
Hence, we can say without doubt that no man or woman in possession of the Holy Spirit can encourage division in the house of God. Division is not God’s Holy will for us. My spirit weeps upon seeing the division in Church today. And for sure God is not happy about this. Instead of us loving one another and encouraging each other in the Christian race, we are rather doing the contrary. Among Jesus’s last words, we can find that which He said “I leave you with my peace”. We are to remain in this peace and join hands to overcome the evil powers of this world. Our Christian fight is not against flesh and blood, rather it is against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world (Ephesians 6).
Unfortunately these days, we rather allow these wicked forces in a state of freedom while we focus on fighting internal fights with our Christian brothers. By creating room for division and hatred, we are opening doors for the devil to come in and defeat us. That’s why Jesus Christ said that a kingdom that divides itself into small groups that fight each other won’t last (Matthew 12:25).
Major reasons for division in Christianity
Jesus Christ took the human nature an lived among men on Earth. During this time, He regularly prayed that all His followers might cultivate a special unity which will act as a testimony of His Good News. Unfortunately, this is not what we are practicing today. Rather, the so called Christians are fighting each other. As if this was not enough we see spiritual leaders fighting each other as well. It’s not strange these days to find a pastor criticizing, judging, or condemning his fellow pastor. The world perceives Christians as people who are fun of exhibiting divisions and squabbles. Christians claim to have one master, savior, and teacher which is Jesus Christ yet they have thousands of different groups, denominations, and churches. Such behaviors get the non Christians highly confused about the subject of Jesus Christ. By so doing, we are rather repelling them from Jesus Christ rather than drawing them to Him.
Before we present the major reasons for division in Christianity, let’s first get a rundown of the main branches in Christianity. Modern Christianity is made up of three main branches which are Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism. The Eastern Orthodox denomination is popularly practiced in the Eastern European countries as well as Russia. On the other hand, the Protestant and Roman Catholic denominations are highly spread around the four corners of the world. The structure, belief, and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are the same everywhere on Earth. However, this is not the case with the protestant denomination. By Protestant Churches here, we are referring to the Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Pentecostals, Baptists and several other groups. We must add here that there are some Churches that class themselves under the Protestant branch but do not actually fall under a specific denomination. Let’s now give the reasons for division in Christianity.
Being a Christian does not mean that you are free from pride. Rather we as Christians are called upon by Christ to overcome this Spiritual killer called pride. Most divisions in Church today did arise due to the pride within spiritual leaders who felt more important than others. Hence, we could not omit pride from the different reasons for division in Christianity .As a teacher of the gospel, if you are not careful, you’ll turn to develop a feeling of being more important than those who do not have a deep understanding of the teachings of Jesus Christ. If you do not address this issue at an early state, it will lead you to being proud there by offending God and grieving the Holy Spirit.
Such a character was not sensed in the lifetime of Jesus Christ and His early Apostles. Although, they had some little misunderstandings and arguments on certain Christian matters, non of them brought the need for division talk less of promoting division. Rather, they jointly lifted their hands in unity to God to assist them through the Holy Spirit to teach and do only what was right. And we can read from the Acts of the Apostles the great things that God was doing in their lives.
As Christians, we are not supposed to look high on ourselves while putting others t inferior positions. Rather, we should lower ourselves and execute the mission which was given to us by Jesus Christ to be our brother’s keeper. Jesus Christ our leader was on Earth as a servant and not a master. That’s why we perceive Him washing the feet of His Apostles. This is a great example of humility for us. Whatever the case, anyone who lowers himself before God and men will be lifted while those who lift themselves will be brought to ground level (Philippians 2:5-11).
One of the reasons for division in Christianity is misunderstanding. People are more likely to receive and interpret the same piece of message in different ways. While some people will be getting it rightly, others will be getting it the other way round. This is the case with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Many have misinterpreted the gospel and have created lots of misunderstandings in the Christian Church. When these issues are not properly addressed, they’ll end up creating division and new denominations.
In the same light, many people have been guided by the Holy Spirit to pick out certain truths in the Bible which are vital for the building of the Christian Church. Unfortunately, not all leaders accept these enlightenment. Many reject them without first testing as recommended in the Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:21). When rejected, it becomes a source of issue which can generate a possible division at any moment. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit that reveals the complete truth about God (John 14:17). That’s why we’ll recommend that you read our article on How to receive the Holy Spirit which will guide you to all truth about God through the Good news Bible.
Difference in personality, talents, and passions
The difference in personality, talents, and passions also fall among the reasons for division in Christianity. While some people are more inclined towards worshiping God through their minds, others prefer to do so artistically or creatively. Unfortunately, these little differences have also contributed to division in the Church. I guess this is because our faith is still too little else we won’t allow Christ to focus in little details like this.
Apostle Paul in one of his letters to the Christian Church said that there are so many ways of worshiping which all bring glory to the one and only God. If God has blessed a person with great singing skills, why do you want to stop him/her from exercising this talent for the glory of God. The weak in faith also exist in the house of God, but are we suppose to argue with them about their personal believes? Apostle Paul asked us not to do so because solid food is meant for the adults while milk is meant for Children. We should rather encourage our brothers and sisters in the faith and pray for them than argue with them.
Tradition has greatly played a major role in Church division. That’s why we hereby include it among the reasons for division in Christianity. While some people do things in Church just because their ancestors did it that way, others prefer to step out and explore new methods of worshiping and praising God. Up till date, we still have Churches who follow the procedures or worship which were installed in the early Church. And it has been noticed that those who are not always OK with this way of doing things are more likely to move a way and start a new denomination.
Tradition is good because it helps us to remain on the tracks and foot steps of the early Christians which were close to Jesus Christ. It also saves us from adopting wrong or unpleasant methods of pleasing God. However, other people believe in innovation. They want to experiment and adopt new strategies of worship as the pray and call on the Holy Spirit to help them.
Division according to people
We’ve got a number of individuals who have led to division in the Christian body due to their person points of views. However, some claim to have been directed by the Holy Spirit. Whatever the case, it is not our duty to pass judgement on them. Let’s rather focus on praying that God’s will be done on Earth.
There are lots of examples that will clearly explain this point. Mr John Wesley started a Christian group and movement which is known today as the Methodist Church. This Church is spread across several countries in the world. We also know of the Lutheran denomination which was formed after the death of Martin Luther.
Lack of Knowledge
Upon reading Hosea 4:6, we hear God saying that his people perish because they lack knowledge about the things of His kingdom. In addition, Matthew 22:29 tells us that the Sadducees were in error because they did not know the scriptures. And it is without doubt that the lack of knowledge leads to misunderstandings and divisions among God’s people. Church division and other religious errors often result from the lack of diligently studying the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Acts 17:11 advises us to search the scriptures on daily basis in order to remain in the light of the truth that comes from Jesus Christ.
Studying and being able to quote hundreds of Bible verses does not mean that you have understood what it says and how to handle the Bible (Matthew 4:5-7). Not everyone understands or handles the Bible the way it should be handled. Many modern Christians justify their actions and deeds from the old testament without realizing that Jesus Christ has already accomplished the Old Testament as we can read from Galatians 3:24-25, Hebrews 10:9, and Romans 7:2-6. In addition, some people pick out special verses in the Bible and twist them to meet their evil intentions. They pick a verse concerning a subject matter and omit other verses that are on that same subject in the same chapter there by creating contradictions everywhere. That’s why we could not omit this point from our list on the reasons for division in Christianity.
Jealousy is a chief cause of division in Christianity. We ought to fight this faith killer by name jealousy. The Holy Spirit shares gifts separately as He wills. So let’s not envy anyone’s spiritual gift. If you haven’t been anointed for a purpose do not condemn he/she who has been anointed for that purpose.When we read from 1 Corinthians 12: 28-30 we hear Apostle Paul saying that “In the Church, God has put all in place: in the first place Apostles, in the second place Prophets, and in the third place teachers; then those who perform miracles, then followed by those who are given the power to heal or to help others or to direct them or to speak in strange tongues. They are not all Apostles or Prophets or teachers. Not everyone has the power to work miracles or to heal diseases or to speak in strange tongues or to explain what is said“.
Human religious guides
When we read from Mark 7:8, we hear Jesus Christ reproaching the Pharisees for having substitute the teachings of God with those of men. Till date, we still experience this issue in the modern Church. Division in the Church regularly results from the fact that people have abandoned God’s teachings to teach those invented by men which are not Bionically founded. Many Christians blind-fully accept all kinds of teachings just because they come from a so-called spiritual leader. This is a big mistake in the Church today which must b corrected. That’s why Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 5:21 that we must test all spirits and teachings with those from Jesus Christ who is our main teacher.
As we can read from Matthew 7:15, a preacher is worth being called God’s servant only when he/she preaches the truth which was revealed by Jesus Christ. Acts 17:11 encourages us to checkout all teachings from the Bible before adopting them because there are many false teachings who are quickly spreading false doctrines like wild bush fire. We ought to strive for the truth and the approval of God and not that of men or our family members. Hence, you should not dwell in error just because your loved ones are dwelling in it. When we read Matthew 10:34-37, we are made to know that as Christians, we should always follow Jesus Christ even if it means forgoing our loved ones.
This narrows us down to the end of our article on the reasons for division in Christianity today. God’s Holy Will for us is that we should fight and reject division in the body of Christ. We should rather prioritize unity and love while encouraging each other in winning the Christian race. As human beings, we are bound to have little misunderstandings, but let’s find midpoints of agreement in order to preserve the love and unity of Christ. If we continuously keep on dividing ourselves in the body of Christ, we won’t be able to stand firm when the enemy shall strike. For more information on this subject matter, we’ll recommend that you read our article on the Causes of divisions.