If Christ were head of the church, which schisms would he support?

Aug 6, 2015 by

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We Christians are a contentious lot. Over the centuries we have divided and re-divided into countless different communions, separated from each other by diverse customs, creeds and ethnic origins — but mostly because we just can’t get along with each other.

Not being able to work things out, of course, is never our fault. It just that other people are either too carnal and too contrary to do and believe the right thing.

Due to our responsibility to remain faithful, we’ve come to affirm that churches have every right to separate from those who are in error. Or at least ours does, as long as we follow Roberts Rules of Order or a similarly civil process in coming to our decision.

And all of our decisions, in contrast to those who differ from us, are legitimate and justified. Our one and only desire, after all, is to be faithful to Scripture, the whole Scripture and nothing but the Scripture. And isn’t the Bible, as we understand and interpret it, absolutely clear on everything faithfulness to Jesus requires? So why don’t all of the folks we are separating from — or who are separating from us — see things the right way? It’s baffling.

Of course we do regret having so many divisions. But as the Good Book says, “Good wood splits easily” (or something like that). And somewhere it is also written (or if it isn’t, it should be), “Better to separate amicably than to have unresolved differences and disagreements.”

End of satire.

On a more serious note, Mennonite Church USA, already representing only about .00045 percent of the total number of the world’s professing Christians, is about to experience a new round of church separations and divorces that will create even more and ever smaller subgroups.

If Jesus were alive and were acting as head of his beloved body and bride, the church, would he approve?

Ironically, we keep affirming every Sunday that he is in fact not only alive, but that he is our One and Only True Lord and Lover.

But has anyone bothered to ask him how he feels about all this?

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. — Eph. 4:2-6 (KJV)

Harvey Yoder is an ordained pastor and member of Family of Hope, a small Virginia Mennonite Conference house church congregation. He blogs at Harvspot, where this first appeared.

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