Jesus knew the dissension, division, conflict, and contradiction would call the legitimacy of the gospel into question for people viewing this conflict from outside. You need not be a genius to know if different people speak opposing things they cannot both be true. As one who once gave up on religion for this very reason, I can sympathize. In my mind, the Christian system was to blame as I saw all these people claiming to follow the same Jesus, same God, same Holy Spirit, and the same Bible, but all teaching and practicing contradictory things. This makes trying to navigate through all the clutter very frustrating. People wishing to do the right things need to know what those things are. Therein is the rub when discussing this issue.
The advocates of the divisive denominational system claim it is impossible for people to understand the Bible alike. Statements like “That’s just your interpretation” or “Well this passage means this to me” are intended to end any discussion suggesting the individual may be misunderstanding or misapplying the text in question. This shifts the responsibility for the division from man to God. If these statements are true, then multiple passages of Scripture are not. Paul told the Corinthians “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…” (1 Cor. 14:33). This flies in the face of the idea that God revealed a message which is beyond common comprehension.
As Paul told the Ephesian brethren, “…by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets…” (Ephesians 3:3-5). This does violence to the concept of people being incapable of understanding God’s word alike. Thus, the issue of division must be the fault of man who reads rather than God who inspired the writings.
Still, many do not see the problem with such division. To make clear the need for serious conversations among those professing faith in Christ, let us consider a few more passages briefly. Paul told the Corinthians there were to be no divisions amongst them (1 Cor. 1:10). Time and again the apostles reiterated Jesus’ prayer for oneness as they instructed different people to strive to maintain this unity (Rom. 15:5-6; 16:7-8; Eph. 4:1-3; Phil. 1:27, 2:1-3; Tit. 3:10-11). This list could go on and on, but the theme is becoming clear at this point. When the Pharisees claimed Jesus cast out demons by the prince of demons, He pointed out the absurdity of the claim with a general principle about division which still rings true today. He said, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand (Mk. 3:24-25). Let us stop dividing the house of God so it may stand in all its intended glory.