Unity in Truth

It is telling that the church seems to divide more than it reconciles. Churches seem to divide mostly because people don't like each other. Instead of it breaking their hearts they rejoice that they are right, more concerned about being right than about the people they are leaving behind. Ironically, they often divide over issues that are less important/critical than the unity that Jesus desires for His Church. Jesus prayed,
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me (John 17:20-21). 
A situation that causes division should be considered against the unity that God desires, since it would be clearly going against Jesus' prayer for us. But, as often is the case, that is not the end of the story. Earlier in the prayer, Jesus prayed,
Sanctify them in truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself, that they also may be in sanctified in truth (John 17:17-18).
The critical connection to make between these two sections is this: God desires unity so that the Truth,  "that you [God] sent me [Jesus] and loved them even as you loved me (John 17:23)," is believed by the world. The Truth is found in God's Word. "The sacred writings are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15)."

Situations that cause the Bible to be drastically distorted or rendered unintelligible  are worthy of division. Just to be clear, Bible translation are not worthy of division. The purpose of translations is to make God's word available to all people. Those who insist on particular translations are essentially preventing people from understanding, the exact opposite of what they claim. It is similar to insisting on Latin or Arabic. Common sense, not pride, needs to be used when evaluating the degree of distortion and intelligibility.

When a church is organized on God's word, with qualified leaders (1 Tim. 1-3), they are "a pillar and buttress of truth (1 Tim. 3:15)," but if they are not they darken the truth. A note of caution is needed here, it easy to argue that everything is matter of truth, since ultimately it is, but we still have to factor in our human limitations. Simply being convinced that something is true, is not the same as something being clear in the Bible. A church that seeks to base their relationships on the Bible is a church that is seeking to be a pillar and buttress of truth, but a church that seeks to base their relationships on a particular teacher or their own ideas is in grave danger, and is distorting the truth.

The key is the Word of God. Without the Bible we are left to our own imaginations. If our method of interpretation becomes only intelligible to us, either because of group/societal assumptions or arbitrariness, we are distorting the Bible.
Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God (Col. 2:18-29).
A church that is not based on God's word is no longer a beacon of truth but a beacon of darkness, and that unity by which that truth would be proclaimed should be separated from because it darkens the understanding of all. Unity without truth is not the unity that God desires, since it is not proclaiming the Truth.


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