Unity in Diversity

Conflict and controversy are two sure-fire ways of exciting people into Bible study. Sadly, this kind of fire seldom resolves anything, rarely incites people to go into the world to save the lost, and most often causes division and even congregational splits. Words like “liberal” and “legalist” are discussed in church meetings and brotherhood papers so much that they seem to outnumber words that should be considered like “missions,” “saving the lost,” and “fellowship.” Brethren become “experts” on the topic of discussion, and very often they become “one issue” Christians. If you do not believe as they believe then you are a liberal and therefore must not be fellowshipped. Soon, these brethren try to force their issue into every situation possible and onto every person possible.
Brothers and sisters, it is time for this to end! It is time for the Lord’s church to stop majoring in minors. It is time for the Lord’s church to complete the mission Jesus set for us and “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
Will there be a time when doctrine is assaulted and needs defending? Sadly the answer is, “Yes.” When these cases arise we must unite and defend the faith, but not every issue discussed is a matter of faith or fellowship. Jude wrote to the early Christians concerning this issue saying,
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).
Jude wanted to write a letter of encouragement to Christians to inspire them in their evangelistic efforts, however, because of certain people and problems he was forced to write a letter urging them to be unified.
Unity is not giving up the fight, as some perceive. Unity in diversity is often a phrase that gets tossed around like a hot potato. We should never compromise on the doctrine of Christ, yet who would claim that the Lord’s church is not made up of a group of people with diverse beliefs? Paul urged the Christians at Rome to have unity in diversity. “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters” (Romans 14:1). In other words, Paul says, accept your brother without giving thought to his differing opinion.
If Christians would strive to do as Jude commands and “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints,” then we could do away with much conflict and controversy. Later in Jude, those who cause division are said to have gone the way of Balaam’s error.
It is interesting that even Balaam, when he listened to God, got things right. “How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the LORD has not denounced?” (Numbers 23:8).
When one is seeking to please God and is not violating God’s commands, then how can God’s people denounce him? Paul says the same thing, “Who are you to judge someone else?s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Romans 14:4).
Do you agree or can we agree to disagree?

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Mitchell Skelton

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One thought on “Unity in Diversity

  1. James,
    Thanks for your comments. You are right, to some people their minor issue is very major to them. We must keep the things in perspective that God thought important enough to put in writing for us. Minor issues are those things about which God said nothing, nor do we have an example to follow.

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