the weblog of Alan Knox

Unity: Based on What?

Posted by on Sep 27, 2007 in blog links, unity | 4 comments

Steve from “Theological Musings” has started a conversation about unity through a post called “John 17 and Unity“. He asks for discussion of this question:

The question: What is the unity that Jesus prayed for in John 17 and is it primarily (or even solely) eschatological in nature? (In other words, is it a future promise of unity in eternity?)

I hope you take the time to visit Steve’s blog and join the discussion.

I think conversations about unity are very important. Steve’s question about the reality of unity and the time context of unity are very important. I’d also add that we need to consider the source and foundation of unity.

So, continuing the discussion of unity, I ask you the following questions: What are some historical sources of unity (not necessarily Christian unity)? Are these good or poor sources of unity? What is the source (sources) of Christian unity? How is this source (sources) the same as or different than other sources of unity?


4 Comments

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  1. 9-30-2007

    Alan,
    In John 17:23
    “… In verse 23, Jesus repeats this result of our unity, then adds another: because of our unity which is being perfected, the world will know that God loves them (the world) just as God loves Jesus.”

    How do we know that “them” refers to the world and not believers?

    Jon

  2. 9-30-2007

    Jon,

    Good question. The pronoun “them” could refer to “the world” (which would be the nearest antecedent), or it could refer back to those who would follow the apostles. Either way, “the world” should be able to recognize the love of God because of the unity of those who come after the apostles.

    -Alan

  3. 10-1-2007

    Alan,
    Thanks for clearing that up for me.

    Is John communicating the idea that God loves His people, (this is what I think) or that God loves the whole world? Does this make any difference?

    It seems to me that this would be one consequence of unity in the church. The world would know that God is truly with us. We would be a city on a hill, instead of a bunch of little villages scattered about the countryside.

    Jon

  4. 10-1-2007

    Jon,

    I think that both God’s love for his people and God’s love for the world is expressed in John’s gospel. So, it’s difficult to know exactly what John means in vs. 23. I chose to read it as God’s love for the world, since the world is the nearest antecedent. However, either way, our unity demonstrates God’s love. I’m not sure we’re demonstrating God’s love through our unity today.

    -Alan