The True Way To Religious Unity? IV
By: Gary Colley
The churches of Christ have contended for the principle of the New Testament unity through the years. This has not been with the desire to be contentious, but because of the emphatic teaching of the Holy Scriptures. Jesus prayed for the unity of His followers, and gave all who would listen the way it was to be accomplished (John 17:20-21). Unity is good and pleasant (Psalms 133:1)! It is unequivocally commanded (I Corinthians 1:10, Ephesians 4:1-5). Division is condemned with the strongest of language (I Corinthians 3:1-3, Romans 16:17-18, II Thessalonians 3:6).
THE TRUE WAY TO RELIGIOUS UNITY
We firmly believe that unity can be achieved. But we fear that the biggest obstacle is that many do not want it! Loving the doctrines and practices of men, and loving their places in these deivisions, causes many eyes to be closed and hearts hardened (Matthew 13:15-17). We can have true religious unity provided we are willing to recognize the following.
1. True religious unity can be obtained by recognizing Christ as the only Head, Ruler, and Legislator of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23, Matthew 28:18-19). This would eliminate the Pope, and all governing councils, conventions, and synods.
2. True religious unity can be obtained by recognizing the Bible as the only source of religious authority (II Timothy 3:16-17, II Peter 1-3). This would eliminate all divergent standards, as health With Key To The Scriptures, The Book of Mormon, along with all creeds, manuals, and catechisms. We plead for unity's sake, let us go back to the Bible (I Peter 4:11).
3. True religious unity can be obtained by recognizing the one body, the church, revealed in the New Testament Scriptures. This is the one that Jesus said He would build (Matthew 16:18), the one which wears His name and to which He adds the saved (Acts 2:47), the one which He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). This would eliminate denominational bodies for the body of Christ (Colossians 1:18). True religious unity can be attained! What a thrilling thought! But we must be guided by the New Testament in matters of doctrine, practice, and worship. Let us cease being divided over things not found in the Book!