Pages Navigation Menu

Unity  

An important goal towards which each Christian should expend effort to advance is the Unity of the Faith:

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  (Psalm 133:1)

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one;  and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.  (John 17:22-23)

Till 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: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Eph. 4:13,14).

When this is fully realized, every adult member of every ecclesia community on earth will agree on a common interpretation of every doctrine of Scripture. It might seem at first glance to be an utterly impossible and foolish goal. How could billions of people, of different cultures, speaking many different languages, and of very different basic cultures, even begin to understand, much less agree on every doctrine of Scripture?

The answer is that first, God does not give us impossible tasks. When He says: we must “all come in the unity of the faith,” and “henceforth be no more children.”  He means just that! We are all to become mature, knowledgeable Christians that agree on all of God’s word. Second, given sufficient time and a persistent focus, any task that is not inherently impossible can be accomplished. The assumption in God’s word is that we will obey and continue to obey and that He will provide all the time we need. His days are a thousand of our years (Ps 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8).

It might, though, require less time than we might think. The focus is first within the local ecclesia community and then throughout God’s ecclesia as a whole. They work toward this goal by promoting the study of God’s word with free interchange of ideas within and between ecclesia communities. They recognize this as a very long-term goal and understand that generations will pass before it is realized. This long-term perspective, coupled with the knowledge that this is God’s will for them, should result in the exercise of patience on the part of all involved and minimize the tendency to digress.

The work would begin with the initial re-established ecclesias and as their numbers increase, inter-ecclesia communication facilities will be established and develop into multi-level structures that facilitate information exchange over large distances and populations. Concurrent with this, exegetical and doctrinal development will be progressing, first locally, then over greater and greater distances and eventually throughout the world. Over and above all this will be the hand of God that guides and directs His faithful followers in the way they should go. Truly, with God all things are possible; this can be accomplished and the world can be changed!

God’s purpose is best satisfied in an environment that gives much time to free interactive discussion. The class-oriented concept of one teaching all must be replaced by that of the discussion of ideas between peers. Adult individuals should be regarded as equals under God and treated as such. Even in a lecture format, the speaker’s attitude should be one of presenting ideas for the consideration of the audience, rather than one of teaching. The audience should feel that they are being addressed by an equal and being asked to consider the speaker’s opinions rather than simply accepting his word.

When the speaker sums up with words like “that’s my understanding of this passage; please let me know if you have anything to add or where you might disagree,” the audience is challenged and stimulated to study for themselves. Also, and most importantly, they are thereby lifted up and reminded that we are all one and all equal under Christ. They are discouraged when they lower themselves and encouraged to see themselves as God sees them, equal in Christ.

This should be the case even when the speaker is a well-known expert in his field. The audience, the ecclesia, must come to understand that their opinion is valued and needed. They must be lifted up and not put down for any lack of understanding. Why must this be so? It is because the purpose of the ecclesia, unity of the faith, can only be realized when the entire body understands all the teachings of Scripture. When anyone can say “I don’t understand that,” unity has not yet been realized and there is more work to do. It will take some individuals longer than it will take others but, in the due course of time, as the ecclesias mature and each member has been immersed in the faith his entire life, it may not seem to be such an impossible goal. Regardless, though, of how difficult it may seem to us today, it is the goal God gave us and one we must work to reach.

A problem today is that the great majority of God’s people have no real comprehension of the magnitude and greatness of who they are in Christ and of the extent to which the future of the world depends on them. They need to be made aware of these things but will never be if they continue to see themselves as unimportant, unworthy, petty and trivial recipients of God’s blessings. Yes, we are truly nothing in and of ourselves but Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords who has been given all authority in heaven and earth has delegated to us, His poor, repentant sinners the task of subduing His domain, the entire world, to His Law Word (Matt. 28:18-20). We must put away our fears and rise to the task God has assigned us. Victory is certain!

It is this message of the greatness and responsibility that accompanies God’s grace that those seated in the pews today must hear, truly hear with understanding, before they can become the force that God intends they become, the force that changes the world. This is of necessity a lengthy and gradual process as the knowledge base of the ecclesia matures generation by generation, but we can persist and not weaken in the knowledge that our success is assured.