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Divisiveness: Why Christianity is our only hope
Pastor Ben Sadler
by Pastor Ben Sadler
November 9, 2020

In a previous post, I focused on the source of division in our country, namely the devil. In this post, I want to defend the statement that Christianity is the only hope for unity in our country. I could say, “Jesus is our only hope.” But I say, “Christianity” because I want to show how the core teachings of Christianity lead to unity.

I’m aware that this is a bold and seemingly arrogant claim. I imagine some readers responding, “Who do you think you are to propose the complete solution to the division in our world?”

But Christianity isn’t the only ideology that’s offering a solution. Many today are looking for education reform or governmental policies to fix the many ways we are divided as a nation. Behind those vehicles of change are underlying philosophies that are influencing those institutions. Some of those philosophies are Secularism, Darwinism, Marxism, Postmodernism, and Critical Race Theory.

For the sake of brevity, I will describe the two principles in which they all agree:

  1. They all reject the existence of the triune God described in the Bible.
  2. They all believe that humans are by nature good or at least neutral.

At first, these two teachings don’t seem that dangerous. Isn’t religion the source of so much fighting in the world? And what’s wrong with believing people are basically good? Won’t that create a positive view of people that will lead to unity?

Even a cursory view of history will show you that these two teachings have been tried, and they always lead to bloodshed. But you don’t need to look to the distant past to see that. Just watch the news, or for some of you in larger cities, look out your windows as anarchists continue to light businesses on fire.

Why have these ideologies led to our present chaos?
First, if the God of the Bible doesn’t exist, then there is no final judgment. If there is no judgment, then human beings must right all wrongs right now. Then everyone who considers him or herself a victim must rise up and destroy their enemy in this moment. We can see this not only in the violent protests but also in “cancel culture” and cyberbullying. Injustices or perceived injustices must be dealt with immediately by any means necessary. In other words, if there is no God, then humans are the judges of good and bad, right and wrong.

Next, if people are basically good, then there’s the possibility of some people being “better,” or elite. Using the wording from secular philosophies, some people are just more evolved or enlightened than others. This sense of superiority leads people to congregate in groups. And one group will eventually start using fear, intimidation, and force to make the other groups shape up or ship out.

Again, these are not hypothetical scenarios. This is what has played out over and over again throughout history. Make no mistake; these are diabolical doctrines that are causing division in our country.

Christianity’s countercultural teachings that will lead to unity
Christianity tells a very different story of our world. In the New Testament, you will find a letter written by the apostle Paul to his church in Ephesus. The purpose of this letter was to bring unity to the church and spread that unity to the surrounding culture. Paul believed that God’s purpose for his world was “to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (Ephesian 1:10). Paul believed that God would unify all things on the Last Day when Jesus returns. But he also believed that the church was to work toward unity right now. Paul understood that the Roman culture was based on division between class, race, and gender, and he was concerned that that division was infiltrating the church.

What did Paul say to the Gentiles living in Ephesus to foster unity? “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). At first, that sounds like a very divisive and negative thing to say. But then he followed up by saying this: All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3).

Paul didn’t say that we are all basically good and some people are better than others. He said that all people are by nature sinful and deserving of God’s wrath and judgment: Jews and Gentiles, believers and unbelievers.

But he didn’t stop there. Paul explained God’s plan to rescue this fallen human race. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4,5). Paul said that God made us alive with Jesus even when we were living in our sinful ways.

Paul summarized his points by saying, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Paul said that all humans are by nature bad, but God has decided to do good to them all. He has given them the gift of saving grace to be received by faith. Because God’s forgiveness, love, salvation, and eternal life are free gifts, there is no room for boasting, division, or elitism. We are to go out and do the good things that God has prepared for us to do with his help.

Living the Christian faith will lead to unity throughout the world
If we accept the biblical teaching that all of us have been created by God and all of us have equally become sinful before God, then we will have no reason to feel superior over anyone. We will look at people inside and outside the church, people of every race, gender, political party, or sexual orientation, and recognize that nobody is better than anybody else before God.

We will also want to communicate that message of God’s grace and love through the sacrificial work of Jesus on the cross. We will never force or intimidate anyone to believe this message because faith in Jesus is a work of the Holy Spirit through the Word.

Finally, if I’m a victim of evil, I will call upon God’s representatives in the government, like police officers and judges, to bring my enemies to justice. If those institutions fail to fulfill their calling, I will call upon God, the ultimate Judge, to right all wrongs on the Last Day.

The secular philosophies that have become the new foundation of our society are tearing us apart. They are not based on the truth of God’s Word, nor an accurate view of human nature. And so they will fail to bring unity. But historical, biblical Christianity is based on the truth. And only the truth will lead us to be unified.