By Earl Robertson
Frequently, someone approaches me concerning unity among brethren. I am always interested in this matter because it is a Bible subject. Both Old and New Testaments discs it at length. David wrote, “Behold, how good and how pleasant, it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psa. 133:1). God hates the sower of discord (Prov. 6:16-19). The Savior prayed that His followers would all be one (John 17:20, 21). The apostles, in the name of Christ, commanded unity (1 Cor. 1:10; Gal. 6:16).
If oneness (unity) of speech produces a condition of “no divisions among you,” every disciple of the Lord should be careful to learn and speak that body of truth. The so-called free declare this to be legalism. Carl Ketcherside recently wrote; “Legalism leads to division. It can lead nowhere else for men in the flesh. So long as men substitute love of law for the taw of logy, trouble is waiting in the wings.” Shallow emotionalism, identified as “the law of love” and substituted for the law of God, is rebellion against God. Their “taw of love” tolerates actions in and of churches which the “law of God” does not authorize; it allows and encourages preaching that does not identify with the sacred oracles (1 Pet. 4:11). This action leads to division! The peace and mercy of God are upon those who “walk by the same rule” (Gal. 6:I6).
Churches of Christ in the first century evangelized without “sponsoring churches” or the establishment and subsidizing of human missionary societies. There was no scripture to authorize them then and there is none now. But the “law of love” created both! Discord prevailed. On February 18, 1909, a meeting was held by ten men in Nashville, Tennessee to work out unity. Evangelistic societies and instrumental music had occasioned the disunity. The barriers to unity were the societies and the instrument. The proposal was made to remove both; this would make for common ground and, unity could again obtain. The apostate movement refused to remove the causes of divisions and sought to shift the blame for divisions from those who introduced and used the objectionable practices to those who opposed them. Unity was not achieved. They remained wed to their idols. Brethren continue this same course to this very day. If they would remove their idols – church support of social gospel programs, church support of human benevolent and evangelistic societies – common ground would exist. Brethren, think about this!
Truth Magazine XXIII: 33, p. 536
August 23, 1979