"Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing."
Colossians 3:15 (The Message)
I guess church splits and church people not getting along have always been an issue in the history of the church. It makes sense, that if you got a group of people who are human together in one building, the chances that all of them are mature, unselfish, no hidden agendas, or loving others more than themselves is too much to ask.
One year at the North American Christian Convention (NACC) the topic was "Together in Christ" and the effort being made by many independent christian churchs and non-instrumental churches of christ to come back together and focus on our common ground and not so much on our differences which aren't biblical in the first place.
But, this issue of unity goes beyond these two church affiliations, it goes to all denominations and even to every local church. Even within the local church (take your pick) whether the church is 1000 or 30 people, people have a hard time getting along or keeping unity because the bottom line is most people want church to be the way they want it to be and if they had their choice, we'd sing the songs we want to sing, have the type of music we want, have the programs we want, tell the preachers what to preach, the teachers what to teach, and finally church would be perfect and the way God wanted it....or would it? NO! Church services, programs, activities, etc...are not and never will be about our preferences or personal choices.
As long as we have imperfect human beings in our churches and people at all levels of spirituality and commitment to God we will have issues of unity. That is why it's crucial to have strong leadership in eldership and pastors. That is why it's important for churches to have missions and visions and purpose and meaning. That is why it's so important for each of us as individuals to die daily to ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Jesus.
We are never going to have true unity until Jesus comes back and calls us all home and it's closer today than it was yesterday, but that doesn't excuse me and you from doing our best to keep the peace, submit to authority, and realizing church and God are alot bigger than our selfish agenda's, motives, and preferences.
People aren't going to go to hell if you use a piano, sing hymns, clap your hands, cancel a dying program, take a wed. night off, change a tradition, or start changing with the times. We have got to get back to the basics of our faith and stop making our personal preferences a test of fellowship, question a person's christianity, or our way is the only way. Until we do this, the local church is going to be distracted from making disciples, and reaching out to lost people, and the devil smiles because those things do send people hell.
Unity begins with you and me. We can be unified with God and still enjoy our own personal choices without splitting the church, running off the saved, or turning away the lost.