Unity through Diversity Is the Hallmark of the Christian Church
It is a well known fact that Christian unity has always been a concern for Christians. This does not mean that the Christians are divided about their belief in Christ. They firmly believe in God and seek his grace for forgiving human aberrations and sins. Christians are unified in their thoughts and belief about Jesus Christ, whom they look upon as the live-wire to God. Yet we see hundreds of different kinds of churches that belong to different denominations. From the oldest Presbyterians and Episcopalians to the newer Seventh Day Adventists and Assembly of God, the denominations are growing.
Every denomination has its distinctive features that separate one from another.
The divisions are deep and reconciliation for unity is farfetched as oneness is resisted by human nature. However, this defies Jesus’ prayers for unity of his followers that he had hoped during ministry.
Far from being united in harmony, squabbles and divisions have become the traits of Christians today.
Naturally, churches are now aligned to different denominations, all claiming their righteousness in following the faith with sanctity.
The reasons for the fragmentation have been discussed in this post.
Branches of Christianity
Roman Catholicism, Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy (that is practiced in Eastern Europe and Russia) are the three branches of Christianity. Protestant denominations and Roman Catholic churches are common in The U.S. Episcopalians, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Baptists and many other Protestant denominations are present around the world. The beliefs of Roman Catholic churches are more unified. The community churches and Bible churches are offshoots of Protestantism and Catholicism, but do not belong to any denominations. Why have the denominations been created if they defy the mandate of Jesus Christ?
The reasons for differences
Putting it simply, the denominations are the results of differences in thoughts about practicing the Christian faith. People have created churches and if they do not get along well, how will there be just one kind of church? Christians are humans and obviously are stubborn and proud as also selfish as human nature ought to be.
• They have disagreed and have been unable to resolve conflicts that led to the formation of denominations that kept multiplying. Jesus’ expectations about human forgiveness and love are long forlorn and denominations are the reality that we have to live with.
• While all Christians agree about the primary belief in Jesus and God, they differ in their thoughts about the practices. There are disagreements in interpretation of secondary areas of the faith. From the structure of local churches to the meaning of baptism, the differences keep cropping up. Interpretation about certain passages in the Bible and the interval of communion are also debated and differed.
• The way to worship God is also a reason for disagreement. Some think of practicing it by mind exercises but others think to be more expressive. Some other people want to reach God by serving others.
Since Christianity embraces different cultures, it is only natural that they will reach out for God in their own ways.