It’s almost always been ‘us’ versus them. Israel lived surrounded by ‘them’. But not content to list only heathen as ‘them’ we began to differentiate further
The early church was made up of entirely of ‘us’…Jewish believers…until Peter ate with one of ‘them.’ Paul and his evangelistic party then turned their entire attention on ‘them.’
Down through the ages, there has always been a line of demarcation dividing ‘us’ from ‘them.’ When Luther declared that the just live by faith alone and not the papal indulgences so common in his day…and he nailed his 95 thesis to the Wittenberg Cathedral door, we had another major branch made up of ‘them.’
But having the Catholic church on one side and ‘us’ on the other, still wasn’t good enough. We began to create further distinctions between ‘us’ and ‘them.’
Some weren’t holy enough…they became ‘them.’ Some were too expressive in their worship and became ‘them.’ If your worship style was too stuffy … guess what, you were now a ‘them.’
Theology, hairstyles and different methods of baptism produced more streams of ‘them.’
We found reason for divisions over almost any and all points, regardless of its seriousness. We became defenders of ‘our faith’ and not ‘The Faith.’ We got pushy, obnoxious and intolerant of any of ‘them.’
God’s people have done this until there are thousands of differing (and often fighting) denominations all representing God – who still sees only two groups. Those who claim Jesus as Lord of their lives and those who as yet have not!
May God help us publish the Good News about God’s love for all men everywhere.
“Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news
that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the Lord!
He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods.”
Psalm 96:2-4 NLT
“I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.
Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17:23 NIV