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By Andrew V. Ste. Marie

 

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore (Psalm 133).

 

“Church unity” was a phrase I grew up being somewhat afraid of. In response to the ecumenical movement, many in the Protestant/Evangelical churches seemed to view any talk of “unity” as an invitation to compromise – a sellout to the Roman Catholic Church.  “We don’t want unity for unity’s sake, at the expense of truth,” they would say.  “What we need is unity around truth.”

 

There is something tragically wrong with the mindset that “we need unity around truth.” Unity is not something we have around truth.  Scriptural church unity is doctrinal truth.  Far more than just being a shared agreement about a list of theological statements, Scriptural unity is “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3), which we are to be eager (World English Bible), diligent (Tyndale), and busy (Wycliffe) to preserve.

 

Scriptural unity is being of one heart and one soul.[1]  It is having the same mind and speaking the same thing, having the same discernment, and having the same love one for another.[2]  It may even mean sharing the same purse.[3]  It is an imitation of the Trinity.[4]  It is being identical to each other, and becoming more and more alike as we all become more like our common Savior.

 

Where this unity is, there is an anointing of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God. [5]  There is power to plead with God.[6]  There is apologetic group witness.[7]  There is a single answer for the young and weak, whoever in the church they ask.  There is power to strive together for the faith of the gospel, without fear of adversaries.[8]  There is power to convict the sinner and bring him to his knees before God.[9]  This unity is a witness to the world.[10]  There is peace as in all the churches, and contention must cease.[11]

 

[1] Jeremiah 32:39; Ezekiel 11:19; Acts 4:32.

[2] I Corinthians 1:10; Philippians 2:2.

[3] Acts 2:44-47; 4:32-35.

[4] John 17:11, 20-23.

[5] Acts 1:14; 2:1-4; 4:33.

[6] Acts 1:14; 4:21-31;

[7] Acts 4:21-32; I Corinthians 14:23-25.

[8] Philippians 1:27-28.

[9] I Corinthians 14:23-25.

[10] John 17:21-23.

[11] Acts 15:25, 31; I Corinthians 11:16.

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