Christian Unity according to The Holy Scriptures


“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”. (Joh. 17:21).

A superficial glance into the ecclesiastical reality of the current times will show us, on the one hand, a proliferation of non biblical divisions among born-again Christians and, on the other hand, innumerable movements and organizations of improper unity among faithful and un-faithful. No doubt, all this has an effect on the testimony of the Church of Christ around the world, as the Lord Himself commands in His Word.

Ecumenism

Ecumenism is a movement of religious syncretism that seeks to combine different faiths and confessions into one global superchurch; Protestants as well as Orthodox and Roman Catholics, regardless of whether they are modernists or neo-modernists, and even born-again Christians who, lacking spiritual discernment, are drawn into such currents (Eze. 22:26). 

The driving forces of this movement are:

1-      The World Council of Churches, founded in 1948, gathers about 330 churches of different extraction: Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed Orthodox (including the Russian Orthodox), and others, all of them based on equity, learning one from another, with the pretension of reaching a complete communion that, through much stumbling, cannot currently be determined.

2-      Another ecumenical center is the Roman Catholic Church since the Vatican II Council (1962 – 1965). Although it participates in the Faith Commission and in the constitution of the World Council of Churches, it actually attempts to bring “separate brethren” back to the “paternal home”.

3-      A third ecumenical current is the charismatic movement, a trend that goes beyond the borders of evangelical denominations and even those of Catholicism, attempting to gather everyone, on the basis of a supposed “experience and manifestation of the Spirit”.

This is not the unity for which the Lord Jesus Christ prayed (Joh. 17:11), instead this is a false unity (2Co. 6:14-17). True unity is based on the One Spirit (1Co. 12:13) that dwells only in those ones who, saved by repentance and faith on our Lord Jesus Christ, have experienced the new-birth (Ro. 8:9); and it is also based in the Holy Scriptures (Joh. 17:17), not in “other Gospel” (Ga. 1:8-9), or in “other Christs” (Mt. 24:24), or in other intercessors. 

The biblical command regarding these different kinds of modern Babel (Re. 17:5) is to reprove them and to keep them away (Eph. 5:11; Mt. 7:15 and 23; Ro. 16:17-18; 2Jo. 9-11), and to the believers who have been drawn in it: “Come out of her my people...” (Re. 18:4)

See Ecumenism and Biblical Doctrine of Separation

Denominationalism

Jesus Christ founded only one Church, unique and universal, and the different congregations that the apostles settled among different cities they visited did not have any other difference but their location. Why, then, this circumstance of having so many Evangelical Denominations? 

Evangelical Christendom presents itself before the world in separate Denominations, whose organizational bodies are of dissimilar creation and its doctrinal tenets do not harmonize with each other. Denominations can only exist with the condition that discrepancies exist. Thus, Christian Unity is limited to those confessional limits. Why should these discrepancies be kept and considered as insoluble, when the Lord prayed for the unity of His people, without any distinction of “denominations”? 

The Bible does not mention anything about denominationalism or interdenominationalism. “I am from Paul”, “I am from Apollos”, these sentences could not be the divine note for coexistence in the Church in the time of the apostles. Such note was “carnal”, not the spiritual one according to God (1Co. 3:4). The Bible does not say anything about “the church of that or other denomination”; it only refers to “the Church of the Lord”, “the Church of God” and the Church of that place or another.

Interdenominationalism wants to gather all believers, only around the work for such goals as it is known for certain that there are no differences of opinion. But it recognizes that those same believers are split on all the points that do not get discussed among each other, for if they would do so their agreement would immediately break. 

These are the reasons for which we launch the calling to all the faithful, expressing that it is necessary for us to remove that “denominational” spirit and that all the faithful believers should join together to express a real and sincere wish to serve God, in the only way His Holy Word commands us to do. 

See Denominationalism in Biblical Method of Restoration of the Christian Unity  

Biblical Doctrine of the Christian Unity

In a biblical sense, Christian Unity is understood as the unity of the Christians regarding all its connotations of origin, areas of relationship and manifestation and, consequently, the unity of the Christian Church that they form, implying that “Christians” are born-again believers. 

It is the unity for which Jesus Christ prayed (Joh. 17:21-23), the unity of His disciples with Himself and the Father, meaning His own people. At the same time, this sets up the unity of His own people. That dual dimension, “verticality” and “horizontality” of unity defines Christian unity, which means the unity of the Church, implicitly referred. The unity of the Church of Jesus Christ is the unity of born-again believers, who are the only “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” (Eph. 5:30).

Therefore, we have then four inseparable aspects in the Scriptural Doctrine of Christian Unity:

-          the unity of the Spirit or Substantial (Joh. 11,21-23).

-          the unity of Truth or doctrinal (Eph. 4:13-16),

-          the full fellowship of brotherly love (Col. 3:14) and

-          unity of the testimony before the world (Joh. 17:21) 

Concerning the testimony, Christian unity is corporal and missionary, and it is applied to:

1)     the local church,

2)     the relationship between churches, whose assemblies must be independent, responding only to the Lord, but must keep a fraternal relationship, fellowship, attendance and cooperation,

3)     the testimony to the world, where the Substantial and Invisible Unity becomes apparent to the eyes of the world because of the Christians’ unanimity of doctrine, practices, learning and testimony of Christians. 

The Church of Jesus Christ is one, it visibly expresses itself on earth in a diversity of local churches, not in denominations that are anti-biblical divisions; such churches shall keep a full unanimity of doctrine, practices and testimony. The Lord’s command is clear and must not be disregarded. (Ps. 50:5)

See Biblical Doctrine of Christian Unity and Philadelphia Testimony

"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”  (John 17:21)

 "...speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:15) 

“Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psalms 50:5)


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