Vol.XVI No.II Pg.5
April 1979

God's Way To Unity Uses Human Resources

Robert F. Turner

(continued from previous page)

It is not our intention to be hypercritical (the F.F. article is a thought-provoker) but this and many other common concepts of unity and how to achieve it need reexamination. Maturity in unity, as in all other Christian endeavors, is not perfection in the absolute. Christ's desire and prayer that we be one "as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee;" is no different than "Be ye holy, for I am holy" (1 Pet. 1:16), or, "Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful" (Lu. 6:36). None of these ideals will be achieved absolutely in this life. But misconceptions regarding human perfection are greatly overshadowed by fallacious alternatives.

Substituting "brotherhood conclusions" for the perfect inspired word is one error. Richardson wrote (Memoirs of A. Campbell) "A sect is characterized by a marked stagnation of religious thought. The theological system of each party surrounds it with fixed boundaries which afford no outlet to free investigation." When we think we have everything worked out, and our conclusions are equivalent to "truth," we are truly a sect.

Another equally erroneous concept, and perhaps more deceptive, for its followers think they are promoting God-approved love and unity, is sometimes called "unity in diversity." We are reminded of human imperfection, and told that since God knows we can not be absolutely one, we must fellowship (have sharing relationship, support and encourage) that which we believe to be error. Proponents even cite Rom. 14: although that passage denounces any who "condemneth himself in that which he alloweth" (14:22-23). Romans 14: urges patience with one whose knowledge is weak (1 Cor. 8:7-f) but insists each must do what he does because he fully believes God wants him to so act (vs. 5-8,12). Being considerate of a weak brother does not mean refrain from teaching him, or finance and encourage his error.

The inspired will of God is presented to the human mind with clear indication that man is capable of understanding it (Jn. 20:31; Lu. 1:3-4; 2 Pet. 1:15; 3:1-2). But we must be aware of our imperfections and ever "search the Scriptures" "prove all things." While it is true that no man knows all truth, it is equally true that all truth is available, and no man is acceptable before God who is satisfied with his level of learning, and no longer tries to learn all that God has said. "Unity of the spirit" is achieved in the common endeavor, not in some sectarian idea of right.

Brethren can never be one until they communicate with one-another in a common search for truth. We must desire to be one (not satisfied with "our church" party). We must realize that Christian perfection is found in an attitude — the "follow after-reaching- forth-press toward the mark" mind that Paul had (Phil. 3:12-15). Some will be willing to study with you who are not true brethren; but genuine brethren are happy to learn and share their knowledge of Gods word. We are ONE at it' s best when we stand mutually humble before the throne of God, genuinely trying to serve Him. Party pride (Jn. 12:42-43) is Satan's most powerful tool against Bible unity.