Sometimes, when we encounter problems of disagreement over scriptural teachings, we fail to see that the problem lies within us, rather than in the Scriptures. Preconceptions and pre-judgments may be keeping us from having a clear understanding of God’s message. Perhaps more than any other thing, lack of faith (unbelief) is at the root of the matter. When people conclude that unity in doctrine is impossible, do they conclude that Jesus’ prayer “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” is not possible to attain?
Is the doctrine of “unity in diversity” from heaven or from men? Has God said, “Since you cannot all see the Bible alike, you must simply agree to disagree and treat all as faithful brethren”? Was Paul demanding the impossible of the Corinthian saints when he urged them thus: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment”? Is his “till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect (mature-NASB) man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” a pipe dream or an unattainable ideal? Simply stated, do we believe in the effectualness of God’s provisions to achieve their purpose as stated in Ephesians 4:11-16? Do we believe that the “unity of the Spirit” described in Ephesians 4:1-6 is attainable? How can one “keep” that which is unattainable? What did Paul mean when he said in Romans 16:17,18, “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them”? If one teaches the “doctrine which is according to godliness” and another teaches the “doctrine which is according to godliness”, will their teaching be in agreement with one another? What should be done if one teaches otherwise? Read I Timothy 6:3-5.
Rather than trying to figure out how we can be one without being one, let us believe the Scriptures and unite on a “thus saith the Lord” by speaking as the oracles of God and abiding in the doctrine of Christ. If this is not a scriptural plea, please do the brotherly thing and correct us.
Beulah Church of Christ