Diversity vs. Disunity

The first allows us to be individuals in Christ, the latter divides and destroys. Which are we?

The Corinthians had divided themselves into quarreling parties, employing the pretenses of human arrogance and worldly wisdom to fight one another. This behavior revealed that they lived by the principles of the world rather than by the teaching of the Spirit.

To specify his complaint even further, the apostle quoted the claims of factions within the church. In 1 Corinthians 3:4 Paul wrote:

“For when one says ‘I follow Paul’, and another ‘I follow Apollos’ are you not being merely human?”

Apparently, these words struck deeply into Paul’s heart—he had already recalled them in this letter and would do so again later (3:22; 4:6). Earlier, Paul argued that such divisions were unthinkable for a variety of reasons (1:13–17). Here he described them as worldly.

By resorting to such contentious practices, the Corinthians behaved just like the unbelievers around them. In Christ they were called to fellowship. By quarreling and dividing, they lived as mere men who did not have the Spirit or the gospel. They were striving against the goals of the gospel and of Christ.

Today, there are at least 217 Christian denominations in the US, and at least 60+ different types of Baptists in US. Many are under the impression that their own particular Christian denomination is going to Heaven, and the others are lost. All too often we look at our differences instead of what we share in common. I often wonder what Jesus thinks of all of this.

  • Denominations are based on disagreements over the interpretation of Scripture, and sadly, race. The USA is never more segregated than it is on Sunday morning.
  • Disagreements over the interpretation of Scripture are taken personally and become points of contention.
  • Today the media uses our differences against us to demonstrate that we are not unified in thought or purpose.

Some Examples from Paul on Divisions and Quarreling: Rom 13:13; 14:1; 1 Cor 1:10-11; 11:18-19; 12:25; Gal 5:19-21; Titus 3:2, 9-11; 1 Tim 6:4; 2 Tim 2:14; 23

Lastly, this quote seems appropriate:

“As far as the devil is concerned, the next best thing to keeping you chained in spiritual darkness or having you live as an emotional wreck is confusing your belief system. He lost you in the eternal sense when you became a child of God. If he can muddy your mind and weaken your faith with partial truths, however, he can neutralize your effectiveness for God and stunt your growth as a Christian.”

Anderson, Neil T.. Victory Over the Darkness: Realize the Power of Your Identity in Christ (p. 139). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The question remains, are we setting examples of diversity or disunity?