Why Is There Division?

Richard Thetford

The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:10: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” God hates division and yet there is religious division in every denominational church and sadly, in most churches of Christ. Division is usually caused by either 1) a lack of respect for the authority of God and the Bible, or 2) an ignorance as to how to establish proper authority. Liberal minded people say that they don’t need Bible authority for all they do religiously.

When people try to justify any practice without an appeal to the Bible, that is called liberalism. A liberal practice is a practice for which no Bible can be cited for that practice. There are some people that have an attitude toward the Bible that it really does make a difference, that one must have Bible authority for what one practices, yet they may sometimes find themselves engaging in liberal practices for which there is no Bible authority. When this happens one will usually do one of two things: 1) They will immediately change their attitude to a liberal attitude (they don’t need Bible authority for what they do) so they can keep their unscriptural practice, or 2) they will keep their attitude toward the Bible (that you do need Bible authority for all you do) and immediately give up their liberal practices.

Liberalism is an attitude toward the authority of God and the Bible that says “you can do things for which book, chapter, and verse cannot be given.” I believe there are some people who are not liberal, yet they engage in liberal practices. Such people are always ready to study and give an answer (1 Peter 3:15). People who are afraid to study for fear they cannot give an answer for their practices, are liberal.

It’s been years since virtually all churches of Christ preached against the denominations for having their church kitchens, social halls, game tables, church parties, etc. It has been some 50 years since churches of Christ began to divide over these same issues. Now today, many in churches of Christ don’t know why there are differences in churches of Christ. The issues have not changed — but the preaching has!