There has been some debate about the new Southern Baptist Church (SBC) International Missions Board's (IMB) position on baptism. Eternal security, no speaking in tongues - a less generous position, in my opinion. It all smells like schism to me. Lord willing, it will not end in that for the SBC, but it stinks regardless.
I was re-baptized after college by a church fellowship that, the week preceding my baptism, split over the issue of baptism. I've written about it before here, but it continually strikes me as a sad coincidence.
Nowadays we view schism in the church, at best, as merely regrettable. I believe it's sin. And I believe it's sin for two reasons. (1) Christ called us to be one. When we split, when we divorce ourselves from one another, we are resisting his call upon our lives. We are being disobedient children. (2) Church division allows us to feel better about, more certain of, ourselves. That's right, subconsciously, we love a good schism because, whatever side we choose, we are left feeling that we are in the right. It creates an us-them dichotomy. Schism is proud. It says, "I am better than the one who broke away/stayed because I am more gracious/because I hold more firmly to the truth of the scriptures." But schism is graceless and ends in little truth.
Here are some arguments for schism: apostasy, heresy, differing practices, distinctives, or interpretations. Which of these arguments, if any, are valid for schism, for division within the Body of Christ? Are there other arguments? Can we maintain unity in the midst of our differences? If so, how?