He begins his post by giving a quick synopsis of a book called Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism. If you’re interested in the book, you can jump over to Arthur’s blog and read what he says.
The point that I want to bring out comes at the end of the synopsis. Arthur says that the four contributors to that book assume disunity, not only among the church as a whole, but even among the sub-group called “Evangelicals.” Arthur explains, “All of these conversations invariably work within a framework where the church has just decided to shrug our collective shoulders, throw up our collective hands and just accept disunity and assume it is normal and unavoidable.”
How does Arthur respond to this?
I reject this. I don’t reject it because I think it is not the reality on the ground and has been for centuries. I reject assumed disunity because it is something that the Gospel simply demands that we reject and overcome. There is simply no way to read the New Testament and come away with practices that lead to a disunified church made of up thousands of competing local churches. The New Testament spends a ton of time breaking down the walls between believers and we have promptly spent the last two thousand years building them right back up in new, innovative ways.
Think about this for a moment… What would happen if we assumed unity in Christ instead of assuming disunity based on our traditions and backgrounds and interpretations? Is that even possible? I think it is…
In fact, I want to expressly state something that I hope has been apparent through my blog posts: If I disagree with you, or if you disagree with me, I do not automatically assume that we are divided from one another because of that (those) disagreement(s). Instead, my first assumption is that we are united in Christ – brothers and sisters – whose bond is stronger than flesh and blood and able to withstand our disagreement.
Idealistic? Maybe. But, like Arthur, I believe that the gospel demands our unity in Christ, and I will seek to live in it.