Christian Unity Is an Oxymoron

The ruin of a kingdom is a little thing in God's sight, in comparison with division among a handful of sinners redeemed by the blood of Christ. –Robert C. Chapman 

courtesy of NASA

Recently, I commented that I believe Christian unity is an oxymoron. Lawrence, one of our astute commenters said “How ironic for a Christian watch blog to decry the lack of Christian unity . I really did like this post, but I can’t stop laughing about that line.”

I think I understand. It is strange that a blog, such as ours, which points out inconsistencies in the church, should carp about unity. Obviously, the implication is that such a blog might be contributing to disunity. However, I have a different perspective.


Christians talk a good game. I remember singing a song in college that said “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord, We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord and we pray that all unity may one day be restored and they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love."


Problem is, when they, the watching world, look at Christians, they see a bunch of people who can barely stand to be in the same church with one another.

  • Young earth enthusiasts, like Ken Ham accuse Old Earthers of being in danger of denying the doctrine of the atonement (code words for heresy).
  • Calvinists accuse those who do not adhere to their 5 points of being Biblically illiterate.
  • Arminianists can’t stand the Calvinists.
  • Hyperauthoritarian pastors stomp on the congregation, believing that they are somehow specially anointed and "in authority" over everybody else.
  • Pastors, like Ed Young Jr., live a ridiculously rich lifestyle and harangues his people to give him their gross tithe so they can be rich like him.
  • Women are told to keep quiet in churches and are accused of being gullible and easily deceived while men are "The Patriarchs."
  • Pedophile pastors molest children and the SBC refuses to set up a pedophile database. And the children are forgotten.
  • Mark Dever (a believer’s baptism advocate) will not  let his friend, Ligon Duncan (a pedobaptist advocate), take communion in his church. Did you get that? Will not let his friend, a fellow Calvinista, take communion!!! Communion, the one place where we gather around the Table and remember Christ's enormous sacrifice.


And we think that, by keeping silence and "not gossiping", we have achieved unity? This was the case in the prophet Jeremiah’s time as well.

Jeremiah 6:13-14: "For from the least of them to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely. And they have healed the brokenness of my people superficially saying, “Peace. peace,” but there is no peace."

This verse condemns superficial peace and unity.  In reality, according to this verse, there is no peace, only pain and lies. And that is what we see in many churches today. I know of one famous Calvinista who has written about humility and exhibits hubris when it comes to pain in his churches.


Folks, when we can’t join one another in communion, we have no unity. When we can't ignore secondary issues and gather around together, at the foot of the Cross, we have missed the boat. We are not practicing the faith. We have simply joined a a country club made up of a limited group of friends who think just like each other and who keep out other people because they don't toe our thin line.


This pretense of unity conceals a malignancy in the body, which, when ignored, grows and festers. So, if we are quiet, and don't talk "about it", does this mean that there is unity or merely quiet pain?

There is a beautiful song by Leonard Cohen and performed by Rufus Wainwright called Hallelujah. Although the song is about a failed relationship, there are some parallels to the church. He sadly sings of love turning into  shooting match with both parties trying to win. Win what? That is the question, isn't it?



So,  how do we learn to love each other and get along, in spite of our differences?  Contemplate a church that functions like the amazing conjoined twins: Brittany and Abby Hensel. These two lovely teens were born with two heads sharing one body. They are individuals but they must learn to cooperate. Two people, one body… Mark Dever needs to take a look at this video.



Finally, I am fan of an old BBC series called “Keeping Up Appearances.” In this comedy, a woman, Hyacinth Bucket (which she pronounces Bouquet because it sounds more upper class), who was raised in a lower middle class home, reinvents herself and pretends she is now a member of the upper class. She chases after the rich and royal and holds, in disdain, her lower class family members.


Her sisters, Daisy and Rose, who along with Daisy’s husband, Onslow, care for their elderly, confused father. Hyacinth pretends to love her  father but it is her sisters, with precious few resources, who happily care for their "daddy." Hyacinth looks good and talks the game. Daisy and Rose simply do it. Yet, Hyacinth is embarrassed by them and discourages them from visiting her at her home. They, on the other hand, are extremely accepting and loving of one another. They refer to one another with the prefix “our.” So, Hyacinth, who treats them with derision, is still called “our Hyacinth.” Somehow, they understand the value of the family and stick with each other in spite of their oddities and differences. 

All too often, the church is like Hyacinth, putting on airs and pretending it is something it is not. Instead, we should be like Rose, Daisy and Onslow-bumbling, kindhearted and accepting folks who care for one another with no pretense; just all of us in one divine family. I long for the day, when the Calvinists can call the Arminianists, "our brothers"; when the young earthers can call the theistic evolutionists,  "our sisters";  when the Southern Baptists can call the Pedobaptists, "our family " and when we can all join with each other in remembering "our Lord" as we overlook our idiosyncracies and join each other in communion. 


I hope you enjoy a short clip from Keeping Up Appearances. Ask yourself, "Who would I rather spend eternity with?"





Christian Unity Is an Oxymoron — 10 Comments

  1. Notice: Undefined variable: button in /home/guswo2wr8yyv/public_html/tww2/wp-content/plugins/quote-comments/quote-comments.php on line 127

    ◦Hyperauthoritarian pastors stomp on the congregation, believing that they are somehow specially anointed and “in authority” over everybody else.
    ◦Pastors, like Ed Young Jr., live a ridiculously rich lifestyle and harangues his people to give him their gross tithe so they can be rich like him.

    Like this?

  2. Notice: Undefined variable: button in /home/guswo2wr8yyv/public_html/tww2/wp-content/plugins/quote-comments/quote-comments.php on line 127

    Sin is a three letter word: EGO. and it has a tail: GREED (inc. greed for POWER). Together they can lead to abuse, stealing power, kicking out people who disagree, even gently, etc. Also sexual conquest can follow.

    Disunity has a major cause: SIN in the person of EGO and GREED for POWER. In any little denomination there are only a few places of potential POWER. So we create denominations so there are more positions of POWER, treat others badly, dissing them to diminish their path to POWER. Freud would have a field day with the pastors we have today. There are not enough mental health professionals in the country to deal with the mental health needs of the pastors of our churches!

  3. Notice: Undefined variable: button in /home/guswo2wr8yyv/public_html/tww2/wp-content/plugins/quote-comments/quote-comments.php on line 127

    Yep – being centered on self rather than God and others.

    I wish it was easier to follow Christ… to be least of all and servant of all, but it’s one of the most challenging things one can ever undertake.

    Love Rufus W’s interpretation of “Hallelujah”!

  4. Notice: Undefined variable: button in /home/guswo2wr8yyv/public_html/tww2/wp-content/plugins/quote-comments/quote-comments.php on line 127

    Love Rufus W’s interpretation of “Hallelujah”!

    I don’t get it.

  5. Notice: Undefined variable: button in /home/guswo2wr8yyv/public_html/tww2/wp-content/plugins/quote-comments/quote-comments.php on line 127

    @ nass: Are you familiar with any other songs written by Leonard Cohen? His lyrics tend to be a bit cryptic, and often include religious imagery. I don’t “get” a lot of his songs, either, but I like this one.

  6. Notice: Undefined variable: button in /home/guswo2wr8yyv/public_html/tww2/wp-content/plugins/quote-comments/quote-comments.php on line 127


    I love it. I could not believe her bio-imagine boasting about it?!

  7. Notice: Undefined variable: button in /home/guswo2wr8yyv/public_html/tww2/wp-content/plugins/quote-comments/quote-comments.php on line 127

    Bluntly and with brutal candor, the world at large sees very little that unifies us; and what’s even worse, they don’t see much in us that they want. TWW has done an excellent job as to the whys and wherefores of why this dismal state in Christendom exists.

  8. Notice: Undefined variable: button in /home/guswo2wr8yyv/public_html/tww2/wp-content/plugins/quote-comments/quote-comments.php on line 127

    And just think, we have made some new friends who come from diverse backgrounds. Thanks for the kind words, friend.