Anytime two Christians are mad at each other, the church splits. The Body of Christ was supposed to be beautifully and perfectly one (according to Jesus in John 17), but some Christians are like oil and water–they just won’t mix. Some congregations even try to encourage unity by naming themselves “United Methodist” or “United Church of Christ.” At least it’s good advertizing.
The folks that don’t see eye to eye will argue doctrine until they’re blue in the face, but nobody wins. It’s always a draw. The more tactful dissidents call it a “parting of the ways.” I think somebody didn’t get their way! I’m not referring to the immutable truths of God’s Word, I’m talking about quibbling over details.
A highly-charged room of irritable deacons or elders can be fodder for Satan. That’s why most churches have the good sense to plan potluck suppers before charting the course of the church’s future. Instinctively, the wives of these contrary men know that carbs must be good. I distinctly remember the business meeting where two preschool workers came to blows over whether we should have wooden or aluminum cribs in the nursery. Let’s just say that it got ugly.
“Church people” can grow apart because of innuendo-a fancy word for gossip and presupposition. Dysfunctional families always hide their dirty little secrets and act as if everything is hunky-dorey. Healthy congregations handle issues openly and compassionately.
The real question is not “if” but “when” a church will split. They all do–and often. Some go down the street and change their name. Some just sit in stony silence and choose to co-exist. And some decide going to church is not worth the pain. So they play soccer on Sundays.
We could probably learn a lot from the soccer players. They realize they are on the same team, and in order to win, they must play together toward a common goal.
Jesus prayed in John 17:23 “…that all of them may be one, Father, just are you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. ” If being one was easy, Jesus would not have prayed that prayer so fervently. However, when people see Christian family members meeting needs, healing hurts and huddling together, they are hungry to know more.