I think that most of us are familiar with the opening verse of Psalm 133 concerning brethren dwelling together in unity. But I've been pondering the "Strange Fire" hubbub and all the various divisions among believers and I am wondering what is the proper basis for unity.It seems that for many the basis of unity is daily becoming one of doctrine and opinion more than light and love; this seems to lead to much division and church leadership based overwhelmingly on the authority of men. Different groups seem to be known more for what they witness against than what they witness for and ultimately they will witness against all but themselves.It seems a better basis is to give every individual and group the standing that God gives them without necessarily identifying yourself with their errors. The basis of unity from Scripture seems to be the possession of the common life of Christ through the new birth. To no longer witness and stand forth for the glorious and simple truth but rather witness against all that we judge as error in other believers is to miss the pleasantness of unity among brethren in Christ.A.N. Groves, in speaking of fellowship with those who are born-again but who held different thoughts on some matters, wrote, "we were free, within the limits of truth, to share with them in part, though we could not in all, their services...I would infinitely rather bear with their evils, than separate from their good."This really strikes home for me.In Christ,Ron
There is a balance here somewhere. It is totally necessary to receive one another in the love of Jesus, but also necessary to confront destructive error. Jesus lambasted the Pharisees on a regular basis, largely because the doctrines they championed were powerful to the erecting of strongholds that kept people from God. From Mt. 23:15 "You (pharisees) travel half way around the world to make a convert, then make him twice the child of Hell you are!" Doctrines that keep people from becoming intimate with God are fair game, and there are times when "unity" must be laid aside for uncomfortable truth. In my opinion, doctrines that try to place the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in some kind of religious museum qualifies as destructive. Others may not agree- may we all receive one another in love!Here's the deal.God reveals His truth to Children. When you come to God as a accomplished doctor of religious studies, you get- I don't know, a fine wine and rare cheese soirée? But when you come to Him as a little child, you will get the good stuff. And it is a delight to watch little children play together... in unity!
There is a balance here somewhere. It is totally necessary to receive one another in the love of Jesus, but also necessary to confront destructive error.
Paraphrasing a quote I saw somewhere, we can be assured we have created god in our own image when he hates the same people we hate.
Hi In the light,Thats a good point you make that i might bear a brother or sister that is mistaken on a point but Jesus has perfect theology and he bears my imperfect theology.Also may I make this point that we need to distinguish between harmony and unity.In fact unity is mentioned in detail only when the gifts are listed.I think that their can be harmony without the gifts in operation but their can not be true unity without the gifts in proper operation,Yours Staff