..Today, one of the common complaints from the progressive side is that evangelicals are always “drawing lines” and “making distinctions” and “policing boundaries” and declaring “who’s in and who’s out.” One wonders what they’d say about the apostles, whose concern about boundaries stands out in so many of their letters, right in line with Jesus’ frequent warnings against false teachers.
Like Jesus, the New Testament writers made constant appeals to unity, but they also drew bold, dark lines regarding what constituted genuine Christian teaching. Flip through any of the letters of Paul, Peter, Jude, and John, and you can’t help but notice the contrast between sound doctrine and error, unity and schism, what constitutes true teaching versus false.
Where Did the Schism Start?
Schisms are indeed tragic, and Christians are right to resist them and seek any other avenue of resolution. But in our efforts to avoid schism, we must not fail to ask the question: Where is the division coming from?
Back in 2009, N. T. Wright, then the Bishop of Durham in the Church of England, wrote that the actions of the Episcopal Church (USA) had initiated a schism would tear apart the fabric of the Anglican Communion. “The Americans know this will end in schism,” he wrote.
“Jesus’ own stern denunciation of sexual immorality would certainly have carried, to his hearers, a clear implied rejection of all sexual behavior outside heterosexual monogamy,” Wright went on, and then, explaining why this is not and can never be an “agree-to-disagree issue,” he wrote:
“This isn’t a matter of ”˜private response to Scripture’ but of the uniform teaching of the whole Bible, of Jesus himself, and of the entire Christian tradition.”
Wright is right..