How can the church achieve unity?

Summary

Christianity should unify on the Gospel of Salvation (Titus 3:3-9) and deity of Jesus (I John 4:2-3), but many church leaders prefer to quarrel about words and law (I Timothy 6:3,4; Titus 3:9) to follow individuals or organizations (I Corinthians 1:11-12). We need to learn how to communicate lovingly with Christians we don’t agree with to fight doctrinal confusion (Ephesians 4:14-15) instead of speaking evil of them (Titus 3:2). Unity is about the mind (I Peter 3:8), judgment (I Corinthians 1:10), and knowledge (Ephesians 4:13). Unity is not about amassing power or money (I Timothy 6:10) as a one-world church or government (Revelation 17:5,12-13). Unity practically is being accountable to the whole body (I Corinthians 12:14,25) to not just preach our own opinions (Matthew 23:3,13) but actually make lifelong disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).

Endorsements

Many of the greatest Christians strongly sought ecumenical churchwide unity: Billy Graham, John Piper and C.S. Lewis, Jonathan Edwards, William Seymour, Pope Francis, and Martin Luther.

Reasons

Christians should be eager to maintain unity (Ephesians 4:2-3).

Instead of eagerly maintaining unity (Ephesians 4:2-3) as one body “synergizing their ministries” (I Corinthians 12:18-20) like the Trinity (John 17:22), we quarrel about words and law (I Timothy 6:3,4; Titus 3:9) to follow individuals or organizations (I Corinthians 1:11-12). We’re quick to call each other “false teachers” (I Timothy 1:7) and start “reformations” (Ephesians 4:14). Some even discourage unity, fearing the End Times, yet Christ wants unity to fight the Great Deception. We believe the root of disunity is enmity (I John 4:20), encouraged by fearful leaders (I John 4:18): love-focused yet dishonest false teachers (II Peter 2:1; I Timothy 3:8) or truth-focused yet arrogant Pharisees (Matthew 23:3,15; I Peter 5:2-3). Read more about the root of enmity and how it causes truth-focused and love-focused people to divide into tribes (Ephesians 4:15).

Unity starts with dividing over the Gospel (Titus 3:9-10,11).

The founding Protestant Martin Luther claimed in his Augsburg Confession: “And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments.” Pope Francis agrees, “It makes no difference whether the victims are Catholic, Copt, Orthodox or Protestant. Their blood is one and the same in their confession of Christ!” Billy Graham called Evangelical exclusion of Catholics “narrow.” This “unity in essentials, freedom in uncertainty, and love in all” (Romans 14:6) will open the discussion about unity around “essential” core doctrine. We unify all 4 major church branches on the Gospel of Salvation (Titus 3:3-9) and deity of Jesus (I John 4:2-3). If a leader adds or subtracts from the Gospel by saying to avoid those who disagree on minor doctrine (Romans 14:6,13), that leader should be avoided instead (Titus 3:9-10,11; Romans 16:17). Read more about healthy division.

Unity happens through healthy communication (Ephesians 4:29).

We will be known, not by how much we know (I John 3:18) but by our love for one another (John 13:35). In modern times, we speak evil of other Christian denominations (Titus 3:2) instead of communicating as the Bible says we should (Ephesians 4:15). Read more about healthy communication and editing our wiki (TODO).

Unity is about having “one mind” (Philippians 2:2).

Although we have “freedom in uncertainty” (Romans 14:3,6), which leads to healthy denominations (Romans 14:5,13), God has commanded all Christians to unite fully in all beliefs (Philippians 2:2). Unity is about the mind (I Peter 3:8), judgment (I Corinthians 1:10), and knowledge (Ephesians 4:13). It’s about speaking the truth in love to fight doctrinal confusion (Ephesians 4:14-15), not about amassing power or money (I Timothy 6:10). The only way this will happen is if Christians start examining Scripture (Acts 17:11) over blindly following traditions (Mark 7:7-8,13). Read more about why denominations are good (TODO) but why it’s better that denominations unite.

Unity leads to decentralized, accountable, and varied ministries (Titus 1:5).

“Perfectly one” (John 17:23) is under decentralized apostles (Luke 9:49-50), for we should not entrust ourselves to individuals (John 2:24-25). Too much centralization (Galatians 1:16-17) or anarchy (Titus 1:5) leads to inefficiencies and abuse. This is not as a one-world church or government (Revelation 17:5,12-13) but as an invisible church (Luke 17:20-21) that fights to remain holy (II Corinthians 6:14-15,16-17). This is done primarily by being accountable to the whole body (I Corinthians 12:14,25) through metrics about discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20) whilst ensuring every varied manifestation of the Spirit is utilized (I Corinthians 12:4-7) and not condemned (I Corinthians 12:21). Read about our Discipleship program and our Church Accountability System.

Counterclaims

I am unified in my church and good works.

By following Jesus, we must use His definition of unity. Unity is about the mind (I Peter 3:8) not feelings, judgment (I Corinthians 1:10) not acceptance, and knowledge (Ephesians 4:13) not actions. Unity can only be about beliefs about God because the last 3 verses are about the unification of the knowledge of humanity’s minds, for this is the only way love can effectively make the body of Christ harmonize (Colossians 3:14). Unity isn’t about works such as evangelism; it’s about working out theological disagreements with anyone who proclaims the name of Jesus (Ephesians 4:13,14).

I can’t unify with Christians that promote evil.

We must fellowship with all Christians because everyone sins (I John 1:7-8). Logically, choosing an arbitrary level of ungodliness to unify with is unbiblical, and no one is perfect. Because we’re commanded to unify on the Gospel (Titus 3:9-10), with the exception of 6 sins (I Corinthians 5:11), you don’t have the right to ignore a follower of Jesus not in your group (Romans 14:5,10). Read more about biblical division.

Ecumenism centralizes power for Satan.

This is how the Judaic Pharisees thought, too, about uniting with the “new” Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 12:24), but Jesus said Satan cannot partner with groups that oppose Satan (Matthew 12:25-26). If you fight mental unity (Philippians 2:2) with those who believe Jesus is God (I John 4:2), then you’re allying with the Antichrist (I John 4:3). In addition to unifying around Jesus’ divinity and the Gospel, we also have various other checks and balances that don’t exist in any modern governments or ecumenical movements. See our Church Accountability System.