That They May All Be One

 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;  that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me”  John 17: 20-21 NASB

Saturday I wrote of our need to come together in love as we seek the Kingdom. While abiding in Christ, we continue on the assumption doctrines and teachings which are clearly false must be opposed. We can certainly agree in Christ that heresy is not to be tolerated. Disputes arise over sound doctrine when His people insist on haggling over which doctrine takes precedence over another. Should any “doctrine” become a wedge between those who are in Him?

The prayer of Jesus for his disciples and those who would follow their teachings (you and I) speaks of His desire for unity in His body on earth. So, what of the matter of doctrinal differences? Why—when our Lord prayed for “oneness”—do we have 33,000 denominations on the planet?

Recently, someone considering a “connection” with me on Facebook made an inquiry. Being my “friend” (or not) was contingent upon my being a “match” for his doctrinal beliefs.  The message read:

“Please let me know if you’re pre or amellinialist, (sic) your rapture timing belief, and the method used to interpret scripture. Do you believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God? Are you a replacement theologian? Are you dispensationalist?”

I sat shaking my head and thinking about ignoring the request for information. Hadn’t I just written in my blog about keeping love the main thing as we seek His guidance together? And we surely weren’t playing The Dating Game! Finally I replied:

My “doctrinal” beliefs are the Apostle’s Creed and I see no need to add to or subtract from those precepts. I’m not a “doctrinarian”; I’m a daughter of the Kingdom! As for your other questions … the answer is “none of the above” and my opinion on the rapture is “none of the above”. Because, you see, I took my “opinions” (about those things) to the cross and let them be crucified so that He can be more.

I went on to explain that I feel the Great Commission is more important than all these issues and invited him to read this blog if he really wanted a peek into my cognitive/spiritual awareness. Within seconds—certainly too soon to have read my post entitled “Wake Up! Let’s Work on the Puzzle!”—the individual replied that his emphasis is on the “Doctrine of Imminence” (the soon return of Christ) and that he is an appointed “watchman on the wall”. He feared that any argument we had over doctrinal issues would negatively impact “unbelievers” who might happen to read the conversation on Facebook. He therefore “declined” to associate with me, although he was willing to allow that I am a genuine sister in Christ and “there are different gifts…we all do different things.” Frankly, I was relieved!

I simply refuse to label myself according to a subscription to “doctrine”. I simply refuse to label myself with the name of a denomination or method of study. Father has named me: “Redeemed”! “Child”! “Heir”!

We can put aside this brother’s assumption (or presumption?) that an argument would publicly occur, and ignore—for now—the scriptural evidence that the charismata (gifts) are primarily to be exercised when we come together with one another for the building up of the ekklesia (church).  This incident does, however, serve as an illustration reinforcing my point. Nearly 2000 years have passed since our Lord prayed we would be “one”. Where are we today?

Will we forever contend over when He will return—when He clearly said only the Father knows the day and the hour? He admonished us to look up when we see the signs—and find comfort in knowing the time is near!  But He never said to abandon the preeminence of the Great Commission over all other “doctrinal” matters! He could come at any time and He left instructions to be busy while we wait. What’s to argue?

Will we forever be divided over which version of the Bible is the only one to use? So much for Martin Luther’s idea that the common people should be able to read it in a language they can understand! Perhaps we must all learn Hebrew and New Testament Greek.  We could argue with one another in ancient tongues!  At least that way the unbelievers won’t pay much attention when we carry on our endless disputes.

Will we forever spit with arrogance the words “inerrant” and “infallible” without understanding that God’s Word—His Son—is Truth and we find Him revealed in the scriptures with the illumination of the Holy Spirit? How about that for “eminency”? You see, we human beings can be “errant” and “fallible” in our interpretations of the Scriptures.  Unless we come together in love, we have no hope of being led into “all truth” by the Spirit. Can we ever agree that the Scriptures accurately reveal the Word of God and accept it’s about Him (The Word made Flesh) instead of making the Bible itself an idol?

And one last question: Why, after nearly 2000 years don’t we look more like Him…as we love one another?

Suggested reading:  As this article was in progress, I discovered a very similar message in John Mazarella’s blog:  http://apostolicservants.com/the-church/unity-of-the-body/1166-cease-fire

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