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Church Unity and Division

“Unity is a difficult thing, perhaps the most elusive of all Christian realities…Unity has always been an American ideal, but uniformity is undesirable." (Father Stephen Freeman, Bishop John of Amorion)

"Is it not a great cruelty for us Christians, members of the body of the Holy Church, to attack one another?...Our principle should be: In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in everything, love.” (St. Catherine of Siena, Life Application Study Bible, Romans 14:1-23)

“In essentials unity, in nonessentials diversity, in all things charity.” (St. Augustine)

“If you wish to be calm do not read rebellious books or pamphlets that mention Church matters, since you are not responsible for such serious affairs. You have need of books that will assist you in your repentance. If you want to help the Church, correct yourself and immediately amendment is made to a small part of the Church. Naturally, if everyone did this, then the Church would be put in order.” (Elder Paisios)

“There are some churches that are vibrant and growing, while others always seem to be discouraged and struggling. What lies at the heart of this success or failure? It has always seemed to me that the difference can in large measure be attributed to attitude. If the people of a church build up and encourage each other, if they hasten to praise and emphasize the positive, the whole community is filled with optimism and a feeling of affirmation. But in those churches where negativity and criticism are quick to surface, discouragement and failure are sure to follow.” (Rev Andrew J Demotses)

“In today’s culture, differences are used too much to create division. This happens in religious circles as well as political circles and other spheres of life.” (Sacramental Living)

“...being critical, whether of other people or of the way they approach their faith, can be a sign we are not centered in the heart. Holiness is about being made whole, and this wholeness depends on being centered in the heart, where we find the Kingdom of God. When we are in our head, we are more judgmental.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Divisions between Christians are a sin and a scandal, and Christians ought at all times to be making contributions towards re-union, if it is only by their prayers.” (C. S. Lewis)

“Lies and divisions are not holy. Truth and wholeness are. It’s not the complicated. When we examine our hearts and behaviors, and, ironically, if we are being truthful and not lying to ourselves, we can better understand if we are contributing to ours and others wholeness or fostering divisions.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“The third aspect of knowing Christ is having access to and sharing in the wholeness of truth.

Knowing Christ means to enter the realm of the truth He revealed…It is unfortunate, or rather tragic, that many people, especially the young, ignore this integration of truth and fife, truth and freedom that knowledge of Christ produces. Despite their advanced knowledge and how astonishingly informed they are in every conceivable field, they are extremely poor in knowing the wholeness of truth revealed by Jesus.” (Archbishop Demetrios)

“...divisions happen. They happen in families and in friendships; they happen within churches and among them; they happen wherever the Evil One has an opportunity to interfere with the natural operations of the human heart, which seeks belonging and yearns for union…Every division in the history of the church has been viewed as a denial of its nature, a separation from Christ’s body, a departure from the temple of the Holy Spirit. (Bishop John Michael Botean, Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis)

“How sad that much time and effort are lost in some churches by fighting against one another instead of uniting against the real opposition! It takes a courageous church to resist infighting and to maintain the common purpose of serving Christ.” (Life Application Study Bible, Philippians 1:27)

“We Christians continue to scandalize the world today by making distinctions in the Body of Christ. We delight in dividing ourselves into camps. The sinful divisions existing in our Church today are not what God intended when He poured forth His Holy Spirit upon the Apostles at Pentecost.” (Abouna Justin Rose)

“The Body of Christ, like our own bodies, is composed of individual, unlike cells that are knit together to form one Body. He is the whole thing, and the joy of the Body increases as individual cells realize they can be diverse without becoming isolated outposts.” (Paul Brand)

“What are we to make of the difference of opinion between the Apostles Barnabas and Paul over whether John Mark should join their missionary journey [Acts 15:35-41]… Saint Paul finds him not worthy… Perhaps Barnabas is influenced by concern for his cousin, John Mark… The contention availed so far as to part them… At the same time the Church’s mission is also furthered, for the apostles divide the work, one focusing on Cyprus and the other fortifying the churches in Syria and Cilicia – all to the glory of God.…differences of opinion are not something to be avoided at all costs in the Church.” (Dynamis 5/16/2015)

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