Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Unity or Truth?
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:16 NLT)
It amazes me what people in the church will get upset about and even divide over. They don’t like a certain song or think the worship is too loud—or not loud enough. We’ve become worship critics and sermon connoisseurs. Meanwhile, we have brothers and sisters in Christ living in other parts of the world who would count it the highest privilege to sing any Christian song and hear any message from God’s Word.
It’s okay to have opinions, but we should never sow disunity. What a horrible witness it is to a lost world when Christians are divided and bickering. And what a powerful witness it is when people see Christians loving one another. There’s a great statement attributed to Augustine that says, “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity [love].”
There are essentials we can’t budge on. For example, if you were to say to me, “Greg, I don’t really believe the Bible is the Word of God or that Jesus Christ is the only way to God,” then we probably won’t be hanging out together all that much. We need unity in the essentials, in the basic truths of the Christian life. There is no fudging.
But then in nonessentials, there is liberty. Maybe you have a different view on end-times events. You don’t think the Rapture could happen at any time; you think it could happen halfway through the Tribulation period. That is a nonessential. I have friends who are pastors, and we don’t agree on every little theological point. But they’re very good friends of mine because we have a lot in common.
Unity is not as important as truth, however. I’m all for unity. But truth is more important than anything else, because if we lose that, we lose everything.