Never a True Christian

Humans are naturally social animals.   We tend to form into groups, usually based on similarities, or based on a shared hatred of some other group.   It's good for our survival as a species.   I can rely on others to help me when I need help, and I in turn will help them.

Along with this tendency (to form groups) is another tendency: for the group to divide itself into subgroups.

Somebody once said that if we woke up tomorrow morning and all of us were exactly alike in every respect (every human being on earth), the first thing we would do is try to find differences.

When I was a child living in a small town, I noticed something: there were five Southern Baptist churches in my town.   I remember thinking, back when I was seven years old, why in the hell are all these Baptists in my town getting up on Sunday morning, brushing their teeth, and going to five different churches?   Why don't they all go to the same church ... one great big Baptist church?

It didn't have to do with location or driving distance.   You could be at any spot in my hometown and drive to any other spot in less than 15 minutes.

Long ago, there was a church in Houston called Broadway Baptist.   It was a small church nestled in a residential neighborhood.   It looked like something out of the Andy Griffith Show.

The pastor was a big heavyset guy who smiled a lot and gave good sermons.   I personally liked him.

A dissension arose among the members of the church about the pastor (not sure what it was. Maybe he failed to visit Mrs. Schuyler when she was in the hospital).   There was a meeting held one evening down in the basement of the church, and the pastor was there with his wife, and a vote was taken as to whether the pastor should be retained, that is, kept on board as the pastor.   The vote went against him.   He said goodbye to everybody, and left.   It was a very emotional meeting.

After he left, the members of the church who had voted to keep him called him up and said, "Let's start a new church, with you as the pastor."   Which they did.

In other words, Broadway Baptist Church split.   Not over doctrine.   Not over whether they should refer to the Lord's supper as "communion."   Not over Bible translations.   They split over personalities (church leaders).

And this was an organization that called itself a church.   Baptists are proud of claiming that everything they do is based on the Bible.   In I Corinthians 1, Paul specifically addresses church divisions caused by conflicting loyalties to church leaders (and Paul says it shouldn't happen).   In John 17, Jesus specifically prays that Christians will be unified ("one").

Nevertheless, Christians are human beings, and are just as fallible as the rest of us.

SEBC And the story gets better:

Some years after the little church (church #2) split off from Broadway Baptist, it had an internal dispute ... about its pastor.   They fired him, and when he left, some of the church members went with him and formed yet another church (church #3).

Church #3 was a split-off of a split-off.

As of today, Church #3 is shut down/defunct.

And that's all I have to say about that.

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