That Jesus Christ is God is the crux (no pun intended) of Christianity. Why, then, so many divisions, schisms, separations, heresies, etc.? One would hope it was not Jesus's desire to divide Christian from Christian (though he did come to divide us based on whether we believe in him, Matthew 10:34). Then can we not say the Devil has continued his toil against our salvation by pitting Christian brother against Christian brother? Is not the Devil in the details which separate one denomination from another?
I would like to see a chart that shows the geographical and chronological origins of the various denominations of Christianity; if someone could find this (online or not) I would be most grateful. As a Roman Catholic, I can't help but wonder why after the Eastern Orthodox split off, Anglicans split off, or the Lutherans split off, anyone else had to dissent to such a degree as to rally a group around themselves (excuse me, I mean: around Jesus). Why Baptist over Presbyterian? Why Methodist over Pentecostal?
What's even more astonishing is that there are new "denominations" every day, it seems, as though everyone over the past 2000 years, reformers included, have just "not gotten it". I think that by ignoring the history of Christianity, they assume it formed out of a vacuum and that the Bible showed up on their doorsteps one day with no one to explain it. The Church has always existed since Jesus told Simon Bar-Jonah, "you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18)... yet those few words alone have sparked fiery debate. Nevertheless, there has always been the Church, and to think that it went so off track so early in its existence speaks very poorly of the will of God and His promise to us: "I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). This was an echo of what the Spirit said through the prophets:
- Though the mountains leave their place and the hills be shaken, My love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the LORD, who has mercy on you. (Isaiah 54:10)
- This is the covenant with them which I myself have made, says the LORD: My spirit which is upon you and my words that I have put into your mouth Shall never leave your mouth, nor the mouths of your children Nor the mouths of your children's children from now on and forever, says the LORD. (Isaiah 59:21)
- One heart and one way I will give them, that they may fear me always, to their own good and that of their children after them. I will make with them an eternal covenant, never to cease doing good to them; into their hearts I will put the fear of me, that they may never depart from me. (Jeremiah 32:39-40)