People give a myriad of reasons for dividing churches and church bodies. This may be the most obvious sin of most Protestants if we are really honest. Since the sixteenth century we have defended almost every church schism we’ve been involved in as Christians and churches. At times our actions and words are so sad that they almost make one laugh if they were not already crying.
My friend John Frame, professor of theology at Reformed Seminary in Orlando, once preached with me in a conference on unity. He said that almost every denomination he knew held celebrations to remember their historical beginnings. He suggested most of them should mourn each year the very day they were born since in most cases this birth was precipitated directly by the sin of schism. I laughed, paused for a moment or two and pondered. I’ve been pondering ever since. I think he is right. I know John makes a lot of very conservative folks unhappy when he says this but the facts speak for themselves.
A friend recently sent me a rather simple, but quite provocative, editorial from The Lutheran, the denominational magazine of the ELCA. I do not know what you will think about Lutherans, or their problems and debates right now, but the article is superb in what it actually says. The author argues that we should “Let the Love of Christ Prevail.” I think he is right. I am quite aware that this will offend many sensibilities. But the point is right, regardless.