When Division is Good

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11.19 “there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized”

Unity in Christ is important (Galatians 3.28) and special (Psalm 133). “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12.18) And yet our pursuit of peace and unity must never come at the expense of holiness (Hebrews 12.14) – that ‘set apart’ mentality and morality that distinguishes those who are for Christ from those who are in action if not in word anti-Christ.

There have been, are, and will be occasions when God desires division and when splits and schisms are truly sanctified occurrences. The Apostle Paul warns the church in Rome:

“…watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. ” (Romans 16:17-18)

Paul calls for division from those who cause division primarily through their separation of from Biblical orthodoxy. Elsewhere Jude warns that Christians contending for the faith will face opposition from “scoffers, following their own ungodly passions. It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” (Jude 18)

Christians and churches are increasingly faced with a choice. Unite in error or divide over truth. While easy to unite in error, churches who do this displease God and fail to truly help this confused sin-sick world, losing their role as a lampstand for Christ and ensuring their condemnation. Dividing over truth, while messy, sad, and damaging comes having exhausted all options for unity in truth and with the promise of protection and preservation given to all who remain faithful to Christ.

Consider the example of St Thomas’ in Edinburgh, Scotland one of the largest churches in Edinburgh. St Thomas’ has been a part of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) but has now voted to leave that wing of the Anglican Communion. The reason? The SEC has recently decided to become the first Anglican body in the UK to officially endorse same-sex marriage.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Regan King