How Does Ideology Lead to Sectarianism?

I rarely mention my ACT 3 Weekly articles on these blogs but I am currently completing a series of articles on the dangers of ideology as a substitute for Christ and the good news of the kingdom. You can find back issues and also subscribe to this weekly mailing on the site.

In my first article in this series on the danger of ideology to the modern church I wrote the following:

What do I mean when I speak of ideology? The English word refers to visionary theorizing, or to a systematic body of concepts, especially regarding human culture or life. I have in mind not only a body of systematic concepts but particularly the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program of some type. It is this idea of a sociopolitical program that I believe so profoundly threatens the church in her calling to remain laser-focused on the mission of Christ. The late evangelical theologian Donald G. Bloesch rightly calls the relationship between ideology and faith “enigmatic.” The very mystery of this relationship calls Christian leaders to think about this problem very seriously. This is especially true in the twenty-first century with all of its new challenges and the myriad of creative ways that we can now teach and communicate.

It is very often ideology that prompts Christians to embrace a kind of sectarianism that threatens the unity of the church as a matter of common practice. Few seem to understand this problem and fewer still are willing to address the problem head-on. The place to begin is with an understanding of both our own hearts and the threat to our unity this presents in our time.