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by Keith Green

Today there is much talk among Christians about the need for

unity. Wherever Christians gather you can hear someone saying, "If

only all the believers could get together and agree, then the world

would sit up and take notice! THEN the devil would be running scared!

Then there would be real revival!!" The whole ecumenical movement is

based on such a conclusion.

I must admit the thought sounds wonderful - to have all those

different denominations (and "non"-denominations) in love and

fellowship with one another - that would be something, wouldn't it!

Ah...but don't hold your breath...IT CAN'T HAPPEN. There'll always be

a couple of real Christians around to spoil it!

"What?!" You say, "How could REAL Christians spoil it? Wouldn't

THEY be the very ones who would be the most loving and ready to

unite?" Oh yes! True belivers are full of love - love for God, love

for their brothers and sisters, love for souls - in fact, love would

be the VERY THING that would make them oppose a mass move of unity.

"What?!" You say again, "Why that's the most absurd thing I've

ever heard! How could love keep them from wanting to get together with

everyone else who cofesses to love God? You're not going to get me to

believe that people with such deep love wouldn't just LOVE to see all

the churches and professing Christians come together in unity? Why,

what could they love more than that??"

Well, they love THE TRUTH! Yep, they're pretty attached to it -

those true believers can even seem right stubborn and ornery at times

- the way they stick to the truth.


Some people have the craziest ideas! They want to try and do what

only God can do. "Let's play Holy Spirit!" That's what they seem to be

saying. They think that if they can just get everyone to quit arguing

about their different doctrinal beliefs, then unity is right around

the corner. "Let's just all try and fellowship and talk about those

things in the Bible we all can agree on."

There's only one problem with that kind of thinking...isn't the

Bible ALL true? How can we just find the lowest common denominator to

which all Christians can agree to, and label the rest of the Bible

(God's Holy Word) "unessential for unity."

In his book, Today's Gospel - Authentic or Synthetic?, Walter

Chantry looks into the reasons for the failures of modern evangelism

and foreign missions. In the introduction Mr. Chantry writes:

"Having accepted the theory that unity is all-important for world

evangelism, both the Church and the individual must lower their

estimate of the value of truth. In a large congress on evanelism we

could not insist on a truth of God's Word that would offend any

brother evengelical. After all, unity (among Christians) is more

essential than doctrinal preciseness.

"It is for just this reason that the mission boards are hesitant

to answer the question, 'What is the gospel?' Thoroughly to answer

that would destroy the mission society, which is a federation of

churches who have differing answers to that question. To adopt the

position of one church would be to lose the support of five others.

The whole system built on unity and generality would crumble."


(Jesus' prayer in John 17)

Many base their quest for true godly unity on an important

passage in the gospel of John. Here in chapter 17, Jesus is praying

for His disciples "that they all may be one..." (v.21). This verse

certainly shows that the Lord desires His followers to have unity and

truly "be one". but in the very next verse (v.22), we see some key

words "...that they may be one EVEN AS WE ARE ONE." How are the

Father and Son one? In every way! They have no doctrinal disputes.

They have no differing theologies. They do not argue over the rapture.

They completely agree...on EVERYTHING!

But you might ask, "How can every Christian agree on doctrine? If

we wait for that, we'll NEVER have unity!" You're missing the point.

It's not knowing "doctrine" that's important, it's knowing God. Only

through entering into an intimate, personal relationship with the

living God and leaving behind the doctrines and theologies created by

men and church tradition, can we ever hope to find the unity Jesus

prayed for: "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect

in one...Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be

with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory..." (John 17:23-24).

What does the word "theology" mean anyway? It means "the study of

God". Today, theological students do not study God, they study about

God. At best, they study the writings of men who themselves have

studied God. Why, they really ought to change the word theology to

theology-ology or "the study of the study of God!"


How many times have you heard that somebody was "causing division

in the church?" Well, maybe they were supposed to! After all, there

are two things that cause division according to the Bible: truth and

error. (I can just see now all the eyebrows raising.) Haven't you

heard the scripture, "Do you suppose I cam to grant peace on earth? I

tell you, no, rather division!" That's right! Jesus said that "from

now on five members in one household will be divided three against

two, and two against three" (Luke 12:51-52). He said that whole

families would be divided over Him. And there are many occasions in

the New Testament when whole assemblies of people were divided because

of Jesus (John 7:43, 9:16, 10:19, Acts 23:6-7). You must remember

people who love the truth will divide from people who love lies.

Now the Bible does warn us about those who would enter into our

midst and cause divisions and factions (Matt. 12:25, Rom. 16:17, 1Tim.

6:3-5, 2Tim. 2:14, 2John 10). And yes, it has always been the devil's

strategy to "divide and conquer." But these divisions are obviously

based on error, lies, and usually come from bitter and evil motives

(Titus 3:10).

Division that comes from the proclaiming of the truth will

usually include some intense reaction and opposition, but it will also

produce good fruit and the advancement of God's kingdom (not to

mention the conversion of souls.)

What bible story is there, Old Testament or New, where the doing

of righteousness or the preaching of the gospel does not divide men

and separate them into two very distinct categories: those who are

willing to turn and obey God, and those who actually turn on the

messenger, because he violently disturbs their false (and usually

religious) peace?

And today, when there are so many who are professing religion, is

it any wonder that some of the deepest truths in the Bible -

repentance, faith, holiness, etc. - are also some of the greatest

objects of debate in the Church. It must be said that those who truly

want to know God's views on these great pillars of Christian doctrine,

will appear to be divisive - and rightly so, in an age when the great

gospel message of salvation can be reduced to such a sugar-coated,

bakery-item as, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your



Those who believe that Christians should stop bickering about

their "pet doctrines" are right. Christians should not be

argumentative, "...and the Lord's bond-servant must not be

quarrelsome..." (2Tim. 2:24). How many times have you heard stupid

arguments about prophecy? "But I just KNOW the 10th head on the dragon

in Revelation is Tahiti!" This kind of "division" is for the birds.

Yet there ARE scriptural commands to defend the truth. 

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