It doesn’t sound as pretty as “unity in diversity.” Schism is an older term for division in the Body of Messiah that points to its beginnings. In the Greek language, schisma comes from schizo, a familiar root today of words like schizophrenia1 and schizoid. It is what happens to the Body when different sentiments prevail among believers: it becomes schizophrenic. This naturally leads to factions as the people follow whichever charismatic figure appeals to them.2
Schism arises from different personal preferences, especially having different sentiments about the anointing that John said “teaches us all things” (1 John 2:27). This caused breaches or gaps in the unity of Body of Messiah where once there was “one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all.”3
Sentiment is an opinion or feeling, a certain delicacy or sympathy towards something. It is an idea colored by one’s emotions or tastes, as is expressed by many in their search for the church that is “right” for them. One goes for this flavor, another for that, as though they were purchasing ice cream.
Schism led to division in the early church, which held Yahshua up to public shame and disgrace. The disgraceful thing about division is that it communicates to the world that Christ is a useless Savior. Schism then and now expresses a distinction between different preferences (or tastes) concerning the Scriptures, almost always in what one believes, not in what one does. All denominations basically look the same to the outside world — work the same, act the same, and love the things of the world the same.4
The divided church of yesterday, today, and tomorrow is at cross-purposes with itself. In fact, it is a house divided against itself, and recognizing that it is fallen is the first step out of its ruin – the first step into the light.