Beliefism is poison

Christianity has literally tens of thousands of denominations. Which can’t be honoring to God; the unity of the body of Christ seems to be very important to God. Jesus talked about the desire for us to be one. Paul speaks repeatedly of the need for Christian believers to be unified. And yet, we keep splitting up, often acrimoniously. Of course this isn’t particularly new; the early Christian church was much more diverse than we often realize.

What drives these divisions, for the most part are disagreements, often valid and serious, about what Christian beliefs are true. Are sacraments necessary for salvation? Is the sinner’s prayer? Must members of a church affirm a particular creed? What is the role of tradition? How should various scripture verses be interpreted? How should claims of revelations be handled? All serious points. All with presumably one right answer, or at least a limited range of right answers. Then again, many of these disagreements are more than likely completely besides the point; does anyone seriously think God cares if we are sprinkled or dunked at baptism?

So we have all these disagreements, and thus all these divisions. And we can argue all we want over the particulars, the fact still remains that this level of division among God’s people cannot be pleasing to God. But what to do about it?

I certainly don’t have the answers sheet for who has the right answers to all the issues which lead to our division (although I have plenty of opinions!). However, I would suggest that we look at the biblical principle of “good fruit/bad fruit”. That is, if we see a good result, we can assume that whatever is producing it is good. If we see a bad result, then we can assume that whatever is producing it is bad. Obviously the division in the body of Christ is bad, so we would do well to figure out what is creating this bad fruit.

I would argue, as does this article titled “Giving Beliefism the Bird” from The Ooze, that something we can call “beliefism” is at the root of this bad fruit. This article provides this explanation:

beliefism [is] ‘about me being right.’ This is a lot different than being devoted to a Person, to Jesus. Beliefism is devotion to a system of beliefs.” Continue reading “Beliefism is poison”