Vol.V No.VI Pg.7
August 1968

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Dear brethren:

Do you advocate division of the Lord's body when brethren disagree over what the Bible teaches? Do you allow division to be preached in your congregation? GM


Unity in Christ comes about as the result of following Christ, doing His will as revealed in the Bible. There is no scriptural way to separate true unity from the believing and doing of Christ's will. (Jn. 17:17-23; 1 Jn. 4:)

Thus, all who seek unity in Christ must seek it within the framework of under- standing and coming to His will. True unity is not something which could exist apart from truth, something left up to us alone to determine. It can not exist "regardless of differences in faith and practice" — for such a "oneness" would be union only, upon man's terms, and not the "unity of the Spirit" with its "one Lord, faith, baptism, etc." (Eph. 4:)

It is presumptuous sin to "judge the law" of God (Jas. 2:10-12; 4:11-f). We must be doers, subject to God's will, not judges of what portion of that will is "important" and what is of no consequence. While it is true that the immediate consequences of one disobedience is greater than that of another, an attitude toward God's Word that proposes to weed out the "important" from the "trivial" can never be acceptable unto God." These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." (Matt. 23:23) Now, in the light of the above, we may conclude that perfect unity, in the absolute sense, necessitates a perfect knowledge of truth, and perfect obedience. I'll save you the trouble of saying it -- God alone is perfect. But here, in this seeming impasse, is the truth about unity.

Man seeks unity in God. The highest degree of unity possible to imperfect man is that obtained in his sincere, Bible-guided "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." We are "perfectly joined together" ("perfected together" RV) "in the same mind and in the same judgement." (1 Cor. 1:10.) Working together (organic unity in the scriptural sense) is possible only to the extent we think together — "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." (Phil. 1:27)

Teaching truth (the word of God) and insisting that as man learns his responsibilities to God he must respond with faith and obedience, is not preaching division — except as Christ came to bring division. (Lu. 12:51-f) It is sometimes necessary to "advocate division" in the same vein with Paul. (Rom. 16:17; 2 Thes. 3:14-f)

The antidote to division when brethren differ over what the Bible teaches, is further Bible study of the issue; openly, frankly and with a meek and prayerful spirit. Those who refuse such study, or would enter into study (?) with selfish, ungodly spirit, have already separated themselves from followers of Christ, and there but remains the unpleasant task of recognizing and removing the leaven of wickedness. (1 Cor. 5:6-8)