Vol.V No.VIII Pg.4
October 1968

The Adhesive Of Unity

Robert F. Turner

If ever utopian dream of "one-world, one culture" were realized, it would produce a "unity" of sorts even in "religion". But the quality of the "unity" in this purely human religion could be no higher than that of the non-descript "blah" of mediocrity. A stream can rise no higher than its source.

People differ in religion because their backgrounds differ, their characters differ, their knowledge differ. These differences are projected into their desires, and what they believe to be their needs. With most people religion is purely subjective; chosen, shaped, and colored to suit each differing individual. With such people there is little hope for oneness other than an artificial and superficial "unity in diversity."

To achieve this pseudo-oneness various "binders" must be used. Organic ties may be woven, by which individuals are integrated into a "system" and made to feel their functioning as a Christian is wholly dependent upon this "system". Denominational or party loyalty becomes the adhesive. We must continually stress the individual obligation of each Christian unto the Lord, or even God-ordained congregational activities may degenerate into party loyalty, or churchanity."

In like vein statements of "I believe" (credo) may become the adhesive for a union that is sectarian and creed-bound. People are bound to one another on the basis of "Baptist usage" "Augsburg Confession" or "Church of Christ doctrine" — and "like precious faith" becomes the way the "majority of churches of Christ in Texas" do it, instead of the God-orientated "one faith" of EPH.4:5.

Neither organic ties, "church" doctrine, nor the hypothetical "unity in diversity" plea can produce the oneness for which Christ prayed. (JOH.17:21-f) True "oneness" is an inner substance, a characteristic of each part that makes for cohesion rather that adhesion. Mud adheres to a boot, but snowflakes cohere in a snowball. There is a mutual attractiveness, a oneness of substance that binds (1) the sincere Christian to Christ, the Saviour and perfect example; and (2) those of like precious faith to one-another. If we must designate some adhesive or "glue" it will likely be the "attitude" or "desire for unity" on the part of all true Christians.

God's people will find unity in their willingness and desire to objectively consider His will — to reach outside of themselves for truth. Here is the only hope for unity among differing people. Those who close the door to fair and honorable consideration of differences in the light of God's word must bear the responsibility for perpetuating division. Every effort to squelch honest convictions, or to make "party" loyalty, or "traditional doctrines" the standard for "unity" is rejection of and a slap at faith in God and the divine standard.

We are appalled at both the seeming lack of interest in unity, on the part of some; and the willingness of others to forsake God's plan in order to obtain a damning union in error. Where are today's "more noble" ones?