These Pastors Aim to Bridge Divides in the American Church: ‘People for Whom Jesus Died’

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Political disagreements over Donald Trump and Joe Biden and a potentially hostile upcoming election season are fracturing America.

The country is polarized and deeply divided over government direction and culture, and the divisions have even crept into the church.

“Christians are sadly, in many ways, we’re reflecting the world and the fact that we’re just as divided as everyone else. But Jesus calls us to something better. He said that the world would know that we are his – by the way, we love each other,” said Pastor Dan Darling, author of the book, Agents of Grace How to Bridge Divides and Love as Jesus Loved.

It’s not just about politics. Doctrinal issues are dividing denominations. Southern Baptists are at odds over the role of women in the pulpit. Disagreements over sexuality and homosexual church leadership have split the United Methodist Church. Darling believes it’s a cultural issue that rises to the level of doctrine on which Christians should not bend.

“When you talk about sexual ethics, you know, this is pretty clear in scripture. It’s something that Christians can’t yield on that we have to be resolute and stand for it with courage and with compassion, with courage and civility,” he insisted.

Pastor David Anderson is the founder of Gracism Global, an organization committed to bridging cultural, religious, racial, and wealth divides. 

He said leaders of both major political parties stoke anger and leverage division on issues like race and abortion when real solutions are needed.

“What we have to ask is, how do you get to the bottom line of getting less abortions? How do you get to the bottom line of saying, this is what God’s ideal is, but this is the real that we live in?” Anderson said.

And what is the role of the church? Darling urges Christians to stand for the truth and show love for their neighbor while disagreeing well. So, how do we disagree well? 

“I think we disagree well, by saying, you know, when it’s among Christians to say, look, this brother or sister I disagree with on this. Here’s why. But I love them,” he explained. “We cannot back down on what we believe, but also we can treat our neighbors and see them as God sees them, as people made in the image of God and people for whom Jesus died.”

Anderson contends America needs leaders to build bridges between the real and the ideal.

“We need healers to say, listen, I understand both sides, but how can we go forward instead of left? Instead of right? How do we go higher? And I think that’s what we’re called to as believers.”