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There are more than forty thousand versions of Christianity worldwide.  Many are the size of a single building, but a few are gigantic: the Catholic Church has 1.2 billion members, and the United Methodist Church alone has more than twelve million members worldwide. Most of the differences among denominations are minor, but they are enough to convince many devout Christians that hell yawns before many other devout Christians. And this awful fracturing continues apace! A decade ago there were about ten thousand versions of Christianity. Who can guess how many more there will be in another ten years’ time?

This endless splitting-apart of Christians over doctrinal disagreements has a long historyAmong the earliest followers of the Lord’s Way, differences of opinion about even core details were peacefully allowed, so long as the Lord’s teachings were followed. But then came the Council of Nicaea in 325, and six more councils over half a millennium, all of which codified the Lord’s Way into just one set of acceptable beliefs. This newly unified Christian religion then abolished all of what it considered to be heretical ideas, and often in horrific ways.

The most recent major rift in what Christians still call the Body of Christ occurred early in 2019. The United Methodist Church is the largest mainline protestant denomination in the United States, and it has fallen into bitter disunion over the issue of homosexuality. At a meeting meant to heal the rift, those who wanted to allow the ordination of homosexual clergy and the legalization of homosexual marriage were voted down, so now a split seems inevitable. It was delegates from developing countries who killed the idea of accepting homosexuals. Jerry Kulah, the head of the UMC Africa Initiative, was delighted to say, “I’m happy to go back to old ladies and old men in villages who received the Bible from missionaries and let them know that the Bible hasn’t changed.”

“The Bible hasn’t changed.” Once again, the Old Testament was used to beat down the Lord’s central message that God’s Law is love. To this day, devotion to the Old Testament is allowed to further split the Body of Christ, even though Jesus Himself freed us to throw the Old Testament out the window! When asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (MT 22:37-40).

Read more of this Roberta Grimes blog article.


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