Aren’t there legitimate secondary or tertiary reasons to divide from a local church? That is essentially the first question I get asked whenever I talk about church divisions or that the Bible never calls Christians to divide. The only time it calls for division is when you’re dividing from the false teachers because the good news message of Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the grave is on the line. That said, Google tells me we have around 200 Christian denominations in the United States and 45,000 worldwide—surely, they can’t all be wrong?
The church today is known by her division. She’s gotten a reputation. Maybe social media makes it seem worse than it is, but that doesn’t matter.
That said, this doesn’t mean that all divisions are wrong. Paul, noting the divisions in ancient Corinth (1 Cor 11:18) pointed out that through divisions they would identify their true working Christians (1 Cor 11:19). Indeed, in Romans 16:17, Paul both warns about division and then encourages it in the same verse!
So, what should the church do? In seeking to be known by her love (John 13:35) should the church pursue unity at all costs? When, if ever, is it right to divide?