4Jesus Outreach

Proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.

Sectarianism in the church

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“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”. – Galatians 5:19-21

In the above passage, God’s Word calls sectarianism a sin. Sedition is listed as one of the works of the flesh. Anytime we call ourselves Baptist, Lutheran, Messianic, Methodist, Pentecostal, and so on, we are committing the sin of sedition (i.e. sectarianism).

Sectarianism leads to bigotry, discrimination, or even hatred among fellow Christians by attaching non-existent importance to differences between other members of the church of Jesus Christ – such as church denominations or factions.

The apostle Paul exhorts us to “grow up.”

Sectarianism is not only a sin, it is also a sign of immaturity. Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God we are still not mature (Ephesians 4:13-14). The ideological underpinnings of sectarian attitudes and behaviors today are extraordinarily varied. Oftentimes, members of a particular religious group believe that their theological or denominational emphasis is superior to others, or even necessary for salvation. Therefore, they will aggressively seek converts from other Christian groups in order to persuade them to believe as they do. Strife exists continually between churches. Also, theological wars will be declared against adherents of opposing factions because they believe that their opponents are dangerous and heretical, and must be purged from the church. History proves that even torture and murder have been committed in the name Christ. In the not-too-distant past, the Roman Catholic Church actually burned people alive for believing them to being “heretics,” (i.e. holding opinions different than what the Catholic church believed to be the truth).

John Calvin, an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation, did likewise to Michael Servetus, the Spanish physician, because of his contradictory beliefs. “John Calvin had a prolonged, murderous hate in his heart for Servetus,” writes Dan Conner, “and was willing to violate Scripture to put another to death and in a most cruel way.” (1)

Should the various members of the Body of Christ be divided and operate independently of one another?

Not if we’re preaching the same Jesus and the same gospel message. For instance, in a real human body, what would happen if one foot said to the other, “I’m going in one direction while you go in another.” Or, the lungs would say to the heart, “I’m going to keep on breathing without your help.” What a mess that would be! Well, that’s what internal division has done to the Body of Christ among Protestants since the Reformation period. According to the latest statistics, there are over 200 Protestant denominations in the world today. Just about every town has a variety of Protestant churches dotting the landscaping. One church is for white Christians, another is for blacks, another is for those who believe in baptismal sprinkling, another for complete dunking. Some churches believe the King James Bible is the only true Bible to use, while others teach that any translation is the Word of God, and so on.

Is all this division over race, petty arguments, or trivial theological matters really necessary? Of course not. Why can’t we agree to disagree on the minor points and concentrate on promoting the major points of sound Christian doctrine?  Why can’t we simply call ourselves “Christians” or “Followers of Jesus Christ” and stop labeling ourselves according to denominational lines? Wouldn’t we be wiser to pool our evangelistic efforts and financial resources and just have one church for the entire city or town to worship in?

If all fundamental Christian churches would learn to work together in unity. just think of how much confusion and duplicated efforts we could eliminate, and how much more effective we could be in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and furthering the kingdom of God?

– Luis Josephus

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4JESUS OUTREACH
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COMMENTS:

From Pierre Andre Ferguson: “Amen brother, my religious views state that I am a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 13:34-35). This phrase is mentioned more times in the New Covenant than the word, Christian. On top of that, the “disciples” were first called Christians in Acts 11:25-30 in Antioch by those who probably were not disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. You know how the world loves to label people and things according to their understanding. When you use the word, Christian, people tend to ask , What denomination are you?” And there is nothing wrong with saying that you are a Christian (1 Peter 4:16). But personally, from my experience people marvel when you specify by saying that “I am a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. “ Variance means the fact, quality, or state of being variable or variant: difference, deviation, the fact or state of being in disagreement, dissension, dispute, a disagreement between two parts of the same legal proceeding that must be consonant, a license to do some act contrary to the usual rule, the square of the standard deviation, discord – at variance, not in harmony or agreement (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary).”

From Alex Ander: “1 Corinthians 3 whole chapter, I want to emphasize verse,16-17 and verses 21-23.”


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Author: Luis Josephus

Luis Josephus is founder and director of 4JESUS OUTREACH, a non-sectarian (i.e. non-denominational) outreach dedicated to proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. He is also an ordained Christian minister, pastor, and author of several books. For more inspirational messages and biblical resources, visit our website at: www.4JesusOutreach.com

One thought on “Sectarianism in the church

  1. Pingback: A Father Who begat a son | Stepping Toes

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