I read two great posts about unity today:
In the first post, David Rogers (who usually blogs at “Love Each Stone“) wrote an article for “SBC Impact” called “The One True Church“. David asks serious questions concerning the nature of the church and the divisions that we find among God’s people today. He discusses different expressions of the church, such as city church, house church, and congregational church, and compares these various expressions with the church as found in Scripture:
Biblically, as best as I can tell, the â€œhouse churchesâ€ were the context, wherever they happened to actually meet, in which the various â€œone anotherâ€ injunctions of the New Testament were carried out on a day-to-day basis. They were small enough for the various â€œmembersâ€ to know each other intimately, and hold each other accountable for their Christian growth and obedience to the Lord. They regularly â€œbroke breadâ€ together, commemorating the Lordâ€™s death, partaking symbolically of His blood and body. They exercised their spiritual gifts in interactive meetings in which everyone had an opportunity to participate actively.
As I see it, the typical â€œcongregationâ€ in todayâ€™s Christian landscape is somewhat of a hybrid between the â€œcity churchâ€ and the â€œhouse church.â€ It is not big enough to embrace all of the believers in a particular locality, but, at the same time, is too big for everyone to really know each other and hold each other accountable in a meaningful way.
These may not be popular conclusions, but I agree with many of the things that David finds in Scripture. As I’ve asked before, are we going to stick with what we’re doing, even if there are no parallels in Scripture, or are we willing to change the way we do things in order to model our lives after Scripture?
I read another very interesting post from my friend Eric at “Hammer and Nail” which he called “Unity without Relativism: Is it possible?“. After referring to John 17:20-21 and the importance of unity, and Galatians 1:8-9 and the importance of the gospel, Eric makes some very important observations:
In light of the above verses, it seems that Christians should not divide over issues that are secondary to the gospel. These might include the authority of scripture, the truth of scripture, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, women’s role in ministry (especially the pastorate), God’s sovereignty vs. man’s free will, spiritual gifts (especially speaking in tongues), etc.
However, if we say that the above issues are not worth standing up for, then it also seems that we are, in essence, saying that they really don’t matter and that whatever someone believes about these is fine. How do we avoid how relativistic this seems?
In this post, Eric asks for our answer to this question: “So, is it possible to be united as a church without falling into relativism on everything but the gospel itself?” Why not hop over to Eric’s blog and answer his question. He’s promised to write more about his thoughts in this area, and I’m going to hold him to that…