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Disunity in the Church and Its Resolution


Disunity can happen anytime, as happened in the early church. However, we must learn from the way they resolved the issues. The following are some examples:

1. There were signs of disunity among the apostles during Jesus’ public ministry. He resolved that by instructing them on service mentality and modelling through his actions like washing the disciples’ feet. When Zebedee’s sons, along with their mother, approached Jesus for the privilege to sit at his right and left in his kingdom, the disciples became indignant at the two. Then Jesus told the disciples: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the powerful oppress them. It shall not be so among you. Whoever wants to be more important in your group must become your servant. And whoever wants to be first must make himself your slave. Be like the Son of Man who has come not to be served but to serve, and to give his life to redeem many” (Mt 20:25-28). So Jesus became their role model.

2. There was great unity and common sharing in the early Christian community (Acts 2:44). “The community of believers was of one heart and mind” (Acts 4:32). However, disunity developed in the church later. “In those days as the number of the disciples was increasing, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews, because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution” (Acts 6:1). The apostles resolved this by appointing seven deacons (Acts 6:2- 7).

3. Another issue was a debate some Jewish Christians started. They argued that the Gentile converts to Christianity need circumcision according to the Mosaic practice (Acts 15:1). So, the early church held a Council in Jerusalem and resolved it by Peter’s conclusion that circumcision per se does not save, but only through the grace of the Lord Jesus.

4. Saint Paul wrote to resolve the groupism and rivalry in the church of Corinth. Diverse groups claimed that they belong to Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or Christ (1 Cor 1:12). Paul wrote: “I beg of you, brothers, in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord, to agree among yourselves and do away with divisions; please be perfectly united, with one mind and one judgement” (1 Cor 1:10).


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