The Great Divide (in the Church) in 2016, and Why It Still Matters

It seems we cast more blame than light.


It’s been eleven months since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. And even as I reflect on the 2016 election now, I still believe it will be remembered for many reasons, including the fact that it was arguably the most divisive election in recent times. There was a record amount of proverbial mud thrown and threats made. Trump came out of nowhere to beat the seasoned former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

To put it another way, the reality TV star beat the career politician. It was as nasty as that characterization sounds, with Trump personally berating every Republican in the race, and Clinton fighting investigations about her careless handling of classified emails.

But the most damage was probably not inflicted in the political or cultural arenas.

The Great (Church) Divide

When we as Christians in the U.S. look back on the 2016 election, we should take note of the divide it created, or perhaps revealed, in the Church. This, I believe, is a divide that is just as strong today. We’ve made little to no progress over the past eleven months.

The division in the churches of America during and after the election was, in many ways, revealing and worth our notice (and conversation). Based on whom a person was supporting or opposing, relationships were ruined, ministry leaders were edged out of positions, and lines were drawn from pulpits and pews.

The problem is not that Christians had differing opinions. That’s part of being human. The problem is that brothers and sisters in Christ used the opportunity to paint each other as racist, uncompassionate, communist, anti-American, and non-Christian—all based on whom they were voting for or against. It is one thing to ...

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