We have all heard the familiar refrain, “Doctrine divides.” I think this is true, but I deny that it is a bad thing. Doctrine is supposed to divide. It is supposed to sift us out and show who among us is walking in intentional error. Whenever heresy or schism is spoken of in the Bible, it is always implies that the schismatics were intentionally deviating from the doctrine handed down to them.
What about love? There is no love in letting a person live in error. It is not loving to let someone drag unsuspecting souls into damnable heresies because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
The simple fact is: whenever someone appeals to “love” against doctrine, they are betraying their secret belief that doctrine is unimportant. This is simply the Osteen-esque idea that as long as someone is sincere and tries to be nice and smile they can get into heaven, regardless of what they believe. Away with such unity!
In the words of Martin Luther:
“Just as in the days of the apostles, so at this day we are forced to hear from certain denominations that we (by our obstinacy to the truth) do offend against love and unity in the churches, because we reject their doctrine. It would be better (they say) that we should let it pass, especially since the doctrine in dispute is what they call ‘non-essential’. And, therefore, (they say) to stir up so great a discord and contention in the church over ‘one or two doctrines’ (and those not the most important ones) is ‘unfruitful’ and unnecessary. To this I reply: Cursed be that love and unity which cannot be preserved except at the peril of the Word of God!”