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 Vol. 3, No. 9 

Page 4

September, 2001

Editorialfountain pen

True Unity

By Louis Rushmore

Jesus prayed for unity.

"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me" (John 17:20-23). (Emphasis added.)

The apostle Paul also encouraged the Corinthian church to practice unity.

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). (Emphasis added.)

From both passages of Scripture, one learns that biblical unity requires singleness or oneness. Both passages place Jesus Christ at the center of this desired unity. In both references, unity depends on revelation of God's will to man. By revelation Jesus Christ is identified and honest hearts believe that evidence; through revelation believers can "be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."

The apostle Paul taught the Ephesian church that unity is dependent on revelation or what the Gospel teaches. Between references to "unity of the Spirit" (Ephesians 4:3) and "unity of the faith" (Ephesians 4:13), the apostle listed seven Bible topics that are included in the Gospel.

"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Rejection of any New Testament teaching destroys the possibility for religious unity.

True unity is a distinguishing trait of the New Testament church. This unity results from agreement on and practice of the Gospel alone. There is no basis for unity where something less than, additional to or instead of the New Testament or Gospel is believed.

Jesus did not pray for denominations with their differing names and creeds that cause religious division. Jesus prayed for unity based upon the Gospel that God revealed and which men are required to believe and practice.

fountain pen fountain pen Unity of the Faith

by Louis Rushmore

Religious leaders write and preach, "We have not arrived; we don't have the unity of the faith yet." Although maybe highly educated, those who espouse some such sentiment could not be more wrong. Further, words like these are really blasphemous and pose great potential harm to the church.

The biblical phrase to which reference is made appears in Ephesians 4:13, in the context of verses 11-14. Much like the context of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, the Ephesians 4:11-14 passage teaches the then partial revelations of God were to be replaced with complete, permanent revelations. Namely, the ministry of miraculously endowed apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11) was coming to an end.

"Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away" (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).

Partial revelations persisted "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). The "unity of the faith" here addressed is equal to "that which is perfect" (1 Corinthians 8:10) or "the perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25; 2:12). "Unity of the faith" is also synonymous with "the faith which was once delivered" (Jude 3), "the law of faith" (Romans 3:27), "the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2), "the gospel of Christ" (Romans 1:16), "the doctrine of Christ" (2 John 9) and "the new testament" (Hebrews 9:15).

Truly, the "unity of the faith" is available today. It is, however, quite another matter whether Christians and others abide therein. The "unity of the Spirit" (Ephesians 4:3) was comprised of partial, miracle-assisted revelations and has been replaced with the "unity of the faith" (complete, written-down revelations). The teaching and doctrine are the same regarding either "the unity of the Spirit" or "the unity of the faith":

"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Yes, we should practice unity, based on the unity of the faith that we do have at our disposal (the Bible). "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1). It is a gross mistake to affirm we do not have "the unity of the faith" simply because religious division exists. Claiming "the unity of the faith" is elusive today is a wholly faulty proposition, the prime purpose of which is often to approve doctrinal errors.

The "unity of the faith" is not elusive; we have it; it is also available to all. Now, is high time to be obedient to the faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26). Reject wrestled interpretations (2 Peter 1:20; 3:16). Accept only "the doctrine of Christ" (2 John 9-11). Refuse modified Gospels (Galatians 1:6-9). Examine the prophets (1 John 4:1). Decry union or fellowship with those who will not subscribe to "the unity of the faith."

Rejoice, we do have "the unity of the faith." Now, may we all abide in it, whereby we may also practice unity.

Copyright 2001 Louis Rushmore. All Rights Reserved.
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