The 6 Things that Divide Christians
by Brett McCracken
One of the dominant attributes of Christianity today is that its adherents can’t seem to agree on much; or at least, we fight about things more loudly and publicly than we agree about things. This is sad—but probably inevitable. Since Christ’s time on this planet, His followers have been arguing about almost everything. It’s nothing new, though certain technologies (the blogosphere, Twitterverse, etc.) seem to amplify it today. We argue about all sorts of things—small, large, petty, important. We argue about “essentials” and “nonessentials,” and even about who decides which is which. The following is a solemn reflection on the things that divide us the most these days. What can we do to have better dialogue about these things?
1. Homosexuality. This is an explosive issue and is only going to get more explosive within the Christian church in the years to come. It’s the single biggest challenge facing the Church. What to do about gay marriage? Gay ordination? Homosexuality in church congregations? Legal issues related to nonprofit status? There are Christians on all sides of the issue, and it’s not an easy one to have civil, loving discussions about. It’s an issue that has already divided countless denominations, led to splits/schism and created a sort of line-in-the-sand litmus test between conservatives and liberals.
2. Universalism. The recent blow-up over Rob Bell’s Love Wins is just the tip of the iceberg on this one. Shortly after Justin Taylor’s first “shot heard round the world” post about “Universalist?” Rob Bell, theologian Scot McKnight wrote on his blog that “Universalism, or at least the prospect of it, is the single most significant issue running through the undercurrent of evangelicalism today.” It’s an issue that gets right to the heart of the question of orthodoxy. Are Christians who believe God will eventually save all humans (Muslims, Atheists, etc.) indeed heretics? Lines have been, and will be drawn in the sand on this issue.
3. Politics. The hyper-partisan atmosphere (fueled by a media that feeds on divisiveness) of contemporary politics has already wreaked havoc within Christianity, where Christian leaders and many churches seem to be more vocal about aligning with one or the other…
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