This week is celebrated by the ecumenical World Council of Churches as “the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,” based on Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21 where he prayed, “that they may all be one.” Now, Christian unity is wonderful, and we should follow Christ’s example and pray for it—but unity around what?
Based on its website, the World Council of Churches wants unity in the sense of everyone just getting along with each other. But is that really biblical unity? Is that what Jesus prayed for?
You see, while unity is important, what we’re unified around is just as (or maybe even more) important.
No, it’s not. You see, while unity is important, what we’re unified around is just as (or maybe even more) important. We must be unified around the Word of God, not man’s word. It’s God’s Word—the perfect, infallible, “God-breathed” Word—that must be the foundation for our thinking. If we’re unified around anything else, it’s a false unity based on man’s opinion and man’s word, not true unity based on absolute truth.
Now does this mean Christians need to agree on absolutely everything to be unified? No, certainly not—that will never happen! But it does mean that, for true unity, Christians need to agree with one another on the essentials such as the authority of God’s Word for faith and practice and the true gospel message of salvation from sin by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. If we’re not unified around that truth, then we aren’t truly unified at all!
And true unity, in a fallen world, means that, yes, division (though not something we desire) must happen. It serves an important purpose of showing who has the conviction to boldly stand for what’s right, even when others are not doing so. Scripture even speaks to this, “For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized” (1 Corinthians 11:19).
Churches that stand boldly on the truth of God’s Word cannot truly be unified with churches who refuse to.
Sadly, much more of this “division” that results from Christians and churches standing on God’s Word actually needs to occur throughout the church! Compromise with evolution and millions of years, LGBTQ, abortion, critical race theory, and much more is rife within the church. Churches that stand boldly on the truth of God’s Word cannot truly be unified with churches who refuse to. It’s not true unity!
Let’s strive as the church for true, abiding unity, centered, not on man’s ideas of just “getting along,” but centered on the absolute authority of God’s Word and the saving gospel message. The Bible makes it clear that in this fallen world, there is not going to be perfect unity!
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.