Biblical Unity for Dummies (1)

Many people have recognized the value of Christian unity, whether this comes from their own intuition or from Scripture such as Jesus’ prayer, “that all of them may be one … so that the world may believe you sent me.”/1 Unfortunately, the plethora of voices and competing claims of what should exist under the banner of Christian unity can be confusing. Is the goal of unity to promote joining together all who profess Jesus? Who determines, and by what means, is the fellowship of unity created? Using straightforward principles, a biblically-informed and competent understanding of unity is accessible.
1) Approach the Subject with the Proper Goal.
Since radically incongruent ideas and agendas concerning unity have been proposed, it is clear that at least someone has confidently charged out under the banner of unity promoting more of their own vision than the Lord’s. If Scripture is our guide, then we need to have the goal of allowing it to shape the contours and parameters of unity.
2) Understand Who Creates Unity and Where That Unity Is Found
Who makes unity possible? Are we responsible for making unity possible by accepting others or is unity something which God makes? When we look into Scripture, we discover that God’s work through Christ unites the diverse peoples of the world in one body, one universal community in Christ./2 God is the source, not our efforts, for legitimate unity./3 Unity can exist because God unites people through Christ. God has chosen (elected) to include people within the saved community of Christ./4 How can we know who God has brought together? We’ll tackle the answer to this in a later principle, but for the moment we should notice what our role in unity is.
3) Understand the Role God’s People Are to Play in Unity
God’s people are to honor and preserve the unity which God has already created through Christ./5 Christians do not determine with whom they have been united. Human opinion can neither legitimately enlarge nor reduce the actual body of Christ. The human task begins with acknowledging and accepting those whom Christ has already recognized as being a part of the one body of Christ./6
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1/ John 17:21
2/ Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 1:9,10,22,23; 2:12,13; John 17:20,21
3/ Ephesians 4:3-7
4/ 2 Thessalonians 2:13,14; Ephesians 1:5-10, 13,14
5/ Ephesians 4:3
6/ Romans 15:5-7

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They are the parents of two young men.

2 thoughts on “Biblical Unity for Dummies (1)

  1. Unfortunately unity is often a front for “acceptance.” Another words it seems to me many use the unity argument to try and bring into fellowship that which is plainly opposed by scripture. Hence the staments then if stand were the bible stands you become a sectarian. We need brothers and sisters willing to stand in the gap and stand for God even amist criticsm for the only way for true unity is acceoting the will fo God. Thanks for a wonderful article hope to read your follow articles as well.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts Nick. To discuss any subject intelligently (and biblically), there is first the need to understand its fundamental essence and nature. I hope that this series of articles will succeed in analyzing and encouraging the preservation of that unity which God has created.
    I may interrrupt this series with another article or two, I hope the possible occasional leaf across the ant trail will not cause anyone to lose the scent of continuity.

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