Unity at All Costs?
Are we supposed to pursue unity no matter what people believe? Are we just supposed to accept any old thing for the sake of unity?
No, absolutely not!
If you’ve been around here long enough, you know I’m quoting a lot of what Francis Chan has to say in his book, “Until Unity” (don’t worry….we’re on the home stretch!) Here’s what he had to say to this question about unity at all costs:
“The Answer is no. Doctrinal precision on primary issues is vital. Paul said that anyone preaching a different gospel should be cursed. (Gal 1:8)”Until Unity p 145
Francis Chan also said “Unity doesn’t require that we compromise on our own convictions.” p 149
Get Unity and Truth Moving Together
Unity without a solid foundation of truth is a runaway train. Solid truth without unity is a train stuck at the station! Get unity and truth moving together and NOW we’ve got some real forward motion!
Exactly what are the primary and secondary issues he’s talking about?
Primary Issues of the Faith
Primary issues of the faith are the ones at the core of Christianity. These are the core truths of what it means to be Christian. If you don’t have these at the center, then it’s another gospel just like Paul said. The ideas that are communicated through the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed are central here like God is the Trinity, Jesus is fully God and fully man, He was born of a virgin, Jesus died on the cross and resurrected in 3 days, the Bible is the inspired word of God, salvation is only through belief in Jesus Christ, and He is coming back to take the Church to set up His eternal Kingdom.
These primary issues are vital. We must be ready to stand to these truths at all cost. We must be willing to defend these truths, but we also must be unified together in these truths!
Secondary Issues of the Faith
Secondary issues of the faith are really important as well, but there’s a whole lot more room for variance of opinion and belief based on interpretation. These issues include ideas like mode of baptism, practices of communion, styles of worship, giving money, social issues….the list goes on and on. And unfortunately, that’s why we have so many denominations currently in the world. So many divisions from disagreements….but that’s another discussion for another day!
The point is though that we should be completely unwaivering about the truth of primary issues even while we may disagree about secondary issues but still maintaining the unity of one Body through all of it! The question is HOW?
“This doesn’t mean we don’t challenge each other’s actions or teachings, but we must do it with love and humility, seeking their repentance.”Unity Unity p 148
The Shallowness of our Love
“Our divisions usually aren’t caused by a difference in theology but a lack of relationship. Our problem is not our difference of opinion or interpretation; it’s the shallowness of our “love”. Our love, if we can even call it that, is not born from rich theology that reminds us of the spiritual reality that we are one Body.”Until Unity P 138
That very statement is convicting- the shallowness of our love. When those words sink in, I hang my head and divert my eyes over the pettiness of our divisions. Francis Chan continues by saying “In the church, we divide easily because we love shallowly.” P 138
“Despite our words, our lack of true love is clear to the rest of the world. Our theological pride has created divisions that run deep.”Until Unity p139
The Solution is Love
What is it going to take love deeply?
By Allowing the Kingdom to be built IN you
By Growing deeper in Love, Humility, and Belonging
“If you are willing to let the presence of the Spirit take precedence over exact theological alignment in secondary issues, I believe you will find a much more diverse, beautiful family of believers because it is the family that God has made, not the one you have chosen.”Until Unity, p156
Unity is worth it because the Kingdom of God is worth it!
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