Proposition 10: Evils of Division

December 9, 2005

First let me apologize for the pause in my blogging. It is a busy time of year. But on to the topic!

In Thomas Campbell’s tenth proposition he states:

That division among christians is a horrid evil, fraught with many evils. It is anti-christian, as it destroys the visible unity of the body of Christ; as if he wcre divided against himself, excluding and excommunicating a part of himself. It is anti-scriptural, as being strictly prohibited by his sovereign authority; a direct violation of his express command. It is anti-natural, as it excites christians to contemn, to hate and oppose one another, who are bound by the highest and most endearing obligations to love each other as brethren, even as Christ has loved them. In a word, it is productive of confusion, and of every evil work.

I imagine it would be difficult to find a professing Christian who would argue with this proposition. Campbell mentions several evils resulting from division between believers:

1) It represents Christ’s body as divided against itself and inflicting wounds upon itself. The picture is unimaginable, as if the all-powerful, righteous, and loving Son of God were like a person with a mental illness, compulsively defacing his own body. How can that picture bring glory to God?

2) It is a direct violation of God’s commands. Eph 1:1-4 and Romans 14, 15 come to mind. As the apostle John wrote, whoever says he loves God but does not keep his commands is a liar. (1 John 2:3).

3) It causes those who are divinely obligated to love one another, instead to have contempt for one another.

Rather than continue to enumerate the many other evils that result from division, Cambell summarizes that division produces confusion and all kinds of evil. These unsavory consequenses are all too familiar, and all too unpleasant to discuss in gory detail.

Reflecting on those thoughts, one naturally comes to the conviction that division is dysfunctional in Christ’s body. Something must be done to eliminate the divide and bring believers back to the loving unity for which Christ prayed. We must make every effort. Surely God will bless sincere efforts of believers to bring about unity.

Matt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Let us all seek that blessing. Amen!

The entire series: Comments on the Thirteen Propositions of Thomas Campbell


  1. Alan:A good post, as always. You and I commented back and forth here a while back about unity and where the line stops. You indicated that salvation was the line, and I would have to agree with that. In an comment earlier than that, you indicated that our ideas of salvation sounded the same.There are brothers within my fellowship who want to seek unity with those who aren’t baptized for the remission of their sins. I mentioned in one of my recent posts that the Restoration Plea is still valid because people need to hear the entire truth of the Gospel, which includes the command for baptism.Now, I know that many churches require baptism by church ordinance, either as an expression of faith or for obedience. However, should we seek fellowship with other bodies that teach that a quick prayer will save you, and that baptism isn’t really that important? This has been on my mind all day as I turned on a local Christian radio station and heard two songs and then a monoluge about the sinners prayer and how it will save you. I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this, especially as you are an elder.-Clarke

  2. Hey Clarke,I responded more fully by email but wanted to address this here. I think those who do not baptize people in the name of Jesus at conversion are like Apollos prior to his encounter with Priscilla and Aquila. I don’t see them as enemies but they need to be taught more completely. I think those who teach incorrectly have a greater accountability than those who are taught incorrectly. However, there are some things that must be understood correctly in order to be forgiven.

  3. Alan:Thanks for adding a link to restorationmovement.org.Reading Campbell’s tenth propostition kept bringing me back to the thought of creeds. It seems that we in the Restoration Movement have come up with quite a few unwritten creeds… if they even are unwritten…many are written on website and in magazines…We’ve been pretty good about not having any conhesive “creedal statement” that one must attest to before joining a local congregation, but maybe we need to figure out a way to move away from our unwritten creeds as well.-Clarke

  4. […] fail to accept those whom God accepts, we are dividing the family of God. As Campbell stated in his tenth proposition, division in the church is a direct violation of the Lord’s express command. Paul wrote to […]

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