Monday, March 13, 2006

Recipe for Unity

Although religious groups differ on many things, on one thing we can agree – religious division exists. Regardless of why it exists, it needs to be destroyed. The denominational world has attempted to address it simply by accepting it. This is often called unity in diversity, and is an oxymoron in the religious world. True unity cannot exist through a multiplicity of religious beliefs, as evidenced by “Christendom” today.

Religious division is sin. Jesus earnestly prayed for unity among his believers (John 17:11, 20-23). The New Testament is replete with commands to be like-minded (Phil 2:2-4; 3:16; 1 Pet 3:8, et. al.). Paul made it crystal clear in 1 Cor 1:10 – “I beseech you…that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

Is this unity even possible? Is there really any way to mend the religious discord? God would not give us these commands if they were impossible to obey. All things are possible with God, but this requires complete reliance on and obedience to Him. So, how do we achieve this unity?

The first step might be the hardest – try! We must be willing to study God’s Word together. Until we drop opinions and rely on the Bible, we’ll never get anywhere. Second, we must have the “right” attitude. If we stop trying to be “right” and let God be right, we’ll see progress. Third, recognize the Bible for what it is – our complete and only authority in matters of life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Tim 3:16-17). God has promised us that His Scriptures will thoroughly equip the man of God for every good work. Finally, understanding this, we absolutely must recognize the truth of 1 Peter 4:11 – “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” If everyone who wants to follow God would do this, not only would religious unity be possible, it is guaranteed (1 John 1:7 – “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…”).

What are the dangers of ignoring this biblical recipe? First, those who claim to be Christians, yet have never obeyed the gospel plan of salvation, will remain lost. Second, all other lost souls will remain lost. Finally, Christians who refuse to evangelize will be lost (James 4:17).

This is a very simple recipe. Some might even call it Pollyannaish. But I challenge all those who claim the name of Christ to try it and see. Take a moment and imagine the effects true Christianity could have on this nation if all those who claim to be Christ’s followers would unite on the Bible only. This is the restoration plea!
by David Ray

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