Vol.XVI No.VI Pg.2
August 1979

To Attain Unity --

Robert F. Turner

Periodically there are flurries of articles or private discussions about Unity Among Brethren, and the need to revive our efforts to attain a oneness among so-called liberal and conservative elements. All honest effort along this line should be welcomed, and everything possible done to encourage and pave the way for it. But many times the article or effort itself is indicative of the very thing that separated. It may be a thinly veiled political ploy; clichs that play up to gullible masses in a bid for "votes." We know whereof we write for we have taken a few such offers seriously only to have our response scorned or used in books or other media for sectarian advantage.

Something sparked the editor of the Gospel Advocate (Ira North) to write an editorial (May 10,) headed, "Anti-Cooperation Brethren Should Come Back Home." The very nature of his plea caused many brethren, seriously interested in unity, to ask, "Home to What?" He offered large numbers, fancy buildings, and past generation traditions. If he even knew the basic issues that divided us he gave no indication; and certainly had no scriptural plea to make. The Baptists and Presbyterians, from whom "we" separated in the early nineteenth century, could make exactly the same plea. Thoughtful God-loving people, the kind who can have genuine fellowship in Christ, are only made to despair of ever repairing the breach. Lipscomb must have turned in his grave at such a use of the G.A.

No doubt there are divisions among nominal brethren that were caused by, and could be healed by such appeals. But true fellowship in Christ is neither made nor broken on those terms.

Brethren sincerely interested in promoting genuine unity must realize that the breach worth the effort to close is caused by differing convictions, differing Bible conclusions. This rent can be mended only when these people are willing to seek a clear understanding of the other's concept, honestly measure it by the word of God, and share their studies on the true issues until, in singleness of desire to serve Jesus Christ, they are brought together. Sectarian ballyhoo and vote-seeking promotions have no place in this endeavor.