I recently watched a Christian conference on a Christian station where a dynamic speaker with a military background urged Christians to get together and unite since we are facing some strong enemies coming against us at this time in history. He implied it was high time to set aside our differences and doctrines to rally around what we agree on whether we be Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, or whatever.
This seems to be happening quite often recently with Christians welcoming the likes of Glenn Beck (a new ager claiming to be Mormon) to speak to them or seminaries that hire imams to their staff. Is this the type of unity that Christ and his apostles had in mind?
I’m reminded of what Paul said in Ephesians 4 about unity–
1I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; …
11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
The unity that so many are talking about today in religious circles is nothing more than a call for compromise. We are being taught to look for areas to agree on with those we want to partner with and to ignore our disagreements because they don’t matter. But the Bible teaches something different. When Christ and the apostles spoke of unity, the focus was on unity of the Spirit and unity of the faith. Unity is supposed to be the result of Christians walking worthy of our vocation, i.e. obeying Christ’s commandments through the power of the Holy Spirit. Unity is supposed to mean that when Christians exercise spiritual gifts like prophecy and evangelism, and saints perfect their godly knowledge, and put their knowledge into practice by fulfilling their ministry, and build up the spiritual strength of the body of Christ, then we end up being like-minded and focused together on what pleases God.
So if an organization is teaching that you can pray to dead people and bow down before porcelain statues to pray, we cannot be united in Spirit. If someone teaches that our salvation can be lost if we don’t always do the right thing–a salvation based on works–then I cannot be united with them in Spirit. If someone teaches that Jesus is only our elder brother, not God, and that we will one day rule over a planet when we die and have loads of spiritual children with multiple wives in paradise, I cannot be united with them in Spirit. If someone teaches that there is no Trinity but God is Jesus only, the Bible says he who does not have the Father does not have the Son, and I cannot be united with them in Spirit.
If a unity being promoted among Christians is a unity that costs me the sound doctrine taught in God’s word, a unity calling on me to compromise what God commands, then that is a cost I am unwilling to pay for a unity that is false. The apostle John summed it up so eloquently in 2 John–
9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
I refuse to be partaker in the evil deeds of false doctrine for the sake of “unity,” so if I face an enemy that seems so overwhelming to me like a Socialist-leaning President or a Socialist-leaning court system or unjust laws, I will trust in the Lord to give me help from trouble, for vain is the help of man when he is not in unity with the Spirit.
–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–