Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Divided We Fall: a look into church division and what we can do about it

Divided We Fall: Overcoming a History of Christian Disunity by Luder G. Whitlock Jr is a look into the history of the Christian church and how disagreements and arguments have created division among Christians throughout the centuries. He begins with biblical foundations of faith and how humans as relational beings are designed for companionship and community. He takes an in-depth look into the historical events which have shaped the different denominations as we know them today. From the Apostolic Church to the Medieval Era to the Reformation. As he discusses the differences among the denominations, he focuses on the Presbyterian Church, which he is the most familiar with. The differences are more than doctrinal differences but cultural, economic and social differences. For example, the Presbyterian Church has 10 or more denominations that have developed since the arrival in the New World. The church separated into North and South denominations during the Civil War and failed to reunite when the war was over. Some denominations are divided along heritage identity i.e. Scottish and Irish congregations. Some division simply came about over the business matters. After he discusses where the church has lost its focus, he offers solutions to refocus and return to the united church as discussed in the Bible. It all begins with love, trust, understanding, kindness and the ability to function together despite our differences.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I enjoyed reading the history of the church and the changes to the church as society changed. I agreed with many of his points especially his assertion that he is a Christian without the label of a denomination, “I am happy to be a mere Christian without further appellation.” I too am happy to be merely a Christian. The clarification of what denomination I may or may not belong to is unimportant. Another point he made is “the closer you are to Christ, the more some issues fade in importance.” I wholeheartedly agree. The last year I committed to reading the Bible book by book and I found myself closer to Christ and to God than I have ever been before. The denominational differences and scrabbles do not matter to me anymore. I highly recommend this amazing book. Mr. Whitlock is honest about where the church has gone wrong and acknowledges the solutions he offers will be difficult for some to do but they are necessary for unity among believers. This book has a permanent place on my bookshelf.

Divided We Fall: Overcoming a History of Christian Disunity

is available in paperback and eBook