Christian

Can We Disagree and Still Have Unity?

I wonder what the Apostle Paul would say if he were still writing letters to the churches today. How would he address all of our differences? He never minced words if he saw error being taught. That’s for sure. Consider his words to the Galatian church.

“The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.  Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.  As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” Galatians 5:2-12

Nothing wishy washy there! Maybe our lack of unity is more about believers embracing error than anything else. After all, there is only one Truth, one Gospel, one Spirit.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:2-6 NIV

I’m 68 years old and I’ve seen a lot. For one thing, I’ve lived in seven different cities and been a part of at least 7 denominations including “non-denominational”.

In the 80’s, a church I attended split over teaching coming from the Word of Faith movement. It introduced new ideas not in line with that church’s beliefs. Someone started a new church and many people left.

Another church I attended split in the 90’s in conflict over teaching with roots in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

Both of these splinter groups caused an uproar, but made little impact after they left. (For info on NAR see: https://bcooper.wordpress.com/?s=nar)

Looking back, the real crisis was that a strong church lost a large part of its membership due to the influx of new teaching not condoned by the denomination, and for good reason. Many people took sides to go or stay based on little Scripture searching and a lot of emotion.

Paul told the Corinthians,

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” 2 Corinthians 11: 3-4 NIV

Is unity even possible? What would it look like? For one thing, serious error would not exist. And serious error does exist in the Church. If you have been part of a strong, Bible-believing church since childhood because of your parents’ leadership, you are very fortunate.

But many people accept Jesus as adults and they are frequently so excited that they get caught up with churches that do not preach the pure Gospel. They only look at the excitement and enthusiasm in the praise and worship and do not examine the teaching to see if it is true. They often read books about God instead of the Book, the Bible. In their defense, they are new Christians.

Do we have unity with other believers even when their theology is tainted by error? Consider this message from Charles Spurgeon:

Where the Spirit of God is there must be love, and if I have once known and recognized any man to be my brother in Christ Jesus, the love of Christ constraineth me no more to think of him as a stranger or foreigner, but a fellow citizen with the saints. Now I hate High Churchism as my soul hates Satan; but I love George Herbert, although George Herbert is a desperately High Churchman. I hate his High Churchism, but I love George Herbert from my very soul, and I have a warm corner in my heart for every man who is like him. Let me find a man who loves my Lord Jesus Christ as George Herbert did and I do not ask myself whether I shall love him or not; there is no room for question, for I cannot help myself; unless I can leave off loving Jesus Christ, I cannot cease loving those who love him.

(The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. XII, 6)

Although I know very little about High Churchism, I do understand that Spurgeon loved his brother in Christ even though they held different views on theology. The important thing was that they both loved Christ. Spurgeon loved his brother in Christ, but I don’t think they were in unity (of one mind).

Let us pray for true unity and always seek to know the truth and hold it in high esteem even as we love everyone who also loves our Lord Jesus Christ. Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ does not mean forsaking the Truth, but it does mean we are completely humble and gentle, patient, forgiving, and loving.

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4: 11-16 NIV

These verses tell me that unity comes with maturity. Building each other up to be like Christ will bring the unity we desire. Maturity in Christ will protect us from false teaching and teach us instead, to walk in love with one another, holding on to what is true..

With Love,

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Photo by Wylly Suhendra on Unsplash

16 thoughts on “Can We Disagree and Still Have Unity?”

  1. A very thorough and heartfelt treatise sister, thank you for reminding us of the importance of being united in Him. I completely agree with all you have written, the older I get (I am in my 50s) I realise more the importance of God’s plan of Salvation as the foundation of all we do. Time is getting short, let us dispense with minutiae and focus on the Rock we all stand on. In my opinion there is not enough work done in our churches on proper discipleship of new believers by more mature brethren, we continue adding names to membership without making them secure in His Word. Oops…sorry for my rant sister. Let us give all glory to God Almighty.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughtful comments. Thankfully we serve a merciful, loving God and He has given us His Word to guide us. I agree that discipleship is of utmost importance and it can prevent a slew of problems. Blessings, HTH!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is an excellent summary.
    Christian unity requires believers to be mature, and to walk in humility and love.
    Those are key words, since they will prevent the false pride that makes people believe that their group of believers is ‘superior’ or more ‘spiritual ‘ than another group.
    We are all sinners, saved by the sacrifice of our risen Lord.
    Jesus does not require uniformity, since he recognizes our temperamental, and our regional differences.
    However, he does require unity of spirit, and a recognition that all believers are part of the body of Christ.
    Let us all pray for grace to walk in love for our neighbour , and humility, so that we will shine as lights in the darkness of a fallen world. 🌷🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  3. If the Apostle Paul were in our churches today, I think he would come to us with a rod (1 Cor 4.21).
    I join you in praying for true unity. We all serve One God, and we all have His One Spirit within us. My prayers for this time of upheaval and change have been from Romans 15.5-7: 5 Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you harmony with one another in Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring glory to God.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good afternoon, Cindy, I have struggled in church settings where Jesus was taught but not followed. I appreciate Paul’s candor. As a speaker and teacher, God uses me to say hard things, His truth. It bewilders me why we as Christians are hesitant to speak truth, to confront issues like pride and gossip. Oh Lord, we need You, we ask You to open our eyes to see others the way You do, help us to speak truth in love, and put a guard over our mouths and typing fingers when it is time to be silent. Thank you for this post. May we link arms and lean in to Jesus! Love in Christ, Julie

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Julie for your encouraging remarks. Yes, we need the Lord to help us walk in love, ever conscious of His love for everyone and His perspective on all things. Yes! Let us link arms and lean in to Jesus! Blessings, my friend!

      Like

  5. Hello, Cindy! I love reading your blog 🙂 I would like to add a question (if you have time, if not, no worries!).

    How do you see the message of unity considering advice to not associate with certain people that have certain behaviors? Such as 1 Corinthians 5:11 that says:

    “you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.”

    Can we love people and still be careful who we hang out with?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are told to love everyone, even our enemies. So yes, we can love people and still be careful who we hang out with. Proverbs 13:20 says “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” And 1 Corinthians 15:33 states, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” I hope that answers your question. Blessings, Jarilissima!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, building one another up! I have been through many denominations, too, and when a group would split off over something they’ve “discovered” that they seem to think puts them on a higher level than everyone else … well, that’s not building others up. It reminds me of when my sister and I were growing up and one of us would taunt smugly, “I know something you don’t know!” Perhaps that’s normal for little girls, but at our age, as you said, it’s time for us to grow up.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you for sharing this wisdom, Cindy! I have experienced those movements you speak of firsthand, witnessed how such things can take over, and sorrowed at both the disunity that resulted and the heartbreaking decision I ultimately had to make in walking away. In the end, there was such toxicity in the enviroment, no room for anyone’s concerns about the direction we were heading, and quite the struggle to reconcile much of what was being taught with the scriptures. I still pray for my former church and hope for God’s truth to prevail, as well as for unity in Christ. Thanks again for highlighting this. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You’re on the right track. The source of our division isn’t disagreement over doctrine. Those disagreements are generally just excuses for maintaining our divisions. The real source of our divisions is that we are looking to the wrong Head. That wrong head may be an organization or a person outside of us, but, in the last analysis, even that wrong human head is only a figurehead for wanting to ignore Christ and have our own way. “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?” James 4:1. If I as a conservative Protestant and my good Catholic friend (I have several-one of whom once saved my life), or Pentecostal friend (I have many), etc., are all looking to Christ as our Head, we can know unity without agreeing on doctrine or organizational loyalties.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s