About the author


Jeremy Crooks

Jeremy grew up in Sydney Australia. He has tertiary qualifications in business, training, and Bible. With experience in both church ministry and corporate human resources, Jeremy has a strong interest in how faith is demonstrated in our homes and workplaces. You can contact Jeremy at


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    Jeremy, lots of good stuff here: “Christ’s body clinically dissected with just a few words”; “dismiss others with a broad stroke”; “straw men . . . incinerated”–these are all well said. I’ve had to train myself away from asking about labels in order to give people a chance to speak for themselves–in word and in action. Seeing a person or organisation through labels is like looking through one of those antique windows–interesting but distorted. Thanks for the great post!

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    Well said Jeremy, first and foremost we are Followers of Christ.

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    Very nice piece Jeremy, thanks.

    I slightly doubt your proposition that division and separation has increased in the church since the Reformation. Even in the midst of the Reformation there was division – reformed-minded Catholics, Lutherans, Swiss Reformed, Church of England and then all the different national reformed churches that never seemed to be able to get together. In the century immediately after the Reformation you had the Arminian controversy, Pietism, the Independents, Presbyterians, Erastians, Puritans etc. etc.

    The “church” has always seemed like a pretty divided institution. Even in the first three centuries there were Judiazers, Gnostics, Arians, Semi-Arians, Marcionites, Montanists, Donatists, Ebionites, Nestorians, Eutychians, etc etc…While some of these were heretical sects, I think the tendency to group-together in like-minded parties has always been present in the church. It’s just a part of (fallen) human nature. I don’t think its necessarily any worse now! (That doesn’t excuse it by the way!)

    What do you think?

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    PJ – You are absolutely right that the church has always been a divided institution. Many of the above divisions you mentioned were as much political as theological.

    Today, I sense that we have added new dimentional divisions to the denominational silos. (e.g we sub-align by celebrity pastors, music styles, Bible versions, eschatology, political voting habits, etc)

    But maybe you are right. I could be looking back at church history with rose tinted glasses.

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    Jason Harris

    Thanks for the post Jeremy. You make some good points and as a general principle, it’s something we need to be learning. God is not bound by our boundaries.

    I did agree with PJ about the history of the church. Also, I think the labels are simply a matter of human nature. Adam named the animals, and this was before the fall. We use labels because they tell us what something is. If someone is pre-mil, it is perfectly appropriate and profoundly human to say so. I think labels tell us important things about the history of a group and the scope of beliefs and philosophies they are likely to embrace. But as you and Jane pointed out, when we use these labels as weapons or build straw men, or use them in any way that is not motivated by Christian love, they can very easily blind us to the real people underneath.

    So I suppose I would argue that the labels aren’t the problem. Rather that it is the differences they denote that are the problem. Until we can learn to love and think well of those who are different, we will find ourselves judging prematurely and “separating” unnecessarily.

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    Jason, I agree the problem is the motive behind ‘labelling’ I know we will never eradicate labels, but I do believe Christians have proliferated too many labels. It requires us to ask what are core issues and what are not. Overall, our challenge is to define ourselves less by Apollos or Paul, and more by Christ.

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