America’s divided faith: More sectarian than Christian

In thinking today about Christian division, I recalled this thought from James Fenimore Cooper’s book, The American Democrat:

In America the taint of sectarianism lies broad upon the land. Not content with acknowledging the supremacy of the Deity . . . the pride and vanity of human reason enter into and pollute our worship, and the houses that should be of God and for God, alone, where he is to be honored with submissive faith, are too often merely schools of metaphysical and useless distinctions. The nation is sectarian, rather than Christian.

He penned those words in 1838.

When Cooper was a still a child there were only about 500 active Christian denominations. Today that number is over 40,000, and Wired magazine cofounder Kevin Kelly says the current growth curve will take that number closer to 260,000 separate denominations by 2100.

It’s probably worth thinking more deeply about Cooper’s words today than when they were first published.

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About Joel J. Miller

I'm the author of Lifted by Angels, a look at angels through the eyes of the early church. Click here for more about me or subscribe to my RSS here.

  • garbo77

    Hi to everyone!

    God get us back to the church of “Acts” which began to flourish after the power of Holy Spirit came upon the 120 in Acts 2:4 and the others afterward. I truly believe that the church of “Acts” is how God intended His church to function for all time!

    God’s Blessings on each of you and yours!

    Dr. Gary


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