By Earl Robertson
Unity is not only “good” and “pleasant” (Psa. 133:1), but it is demanded by the Lord. This unity is among brethren. There is no teaching from the Lord demanding that His people be united with denominationalism; to the contrary, He demands separateness. The unity the Bible teaches is unity among God’s people based upon divine truth.
The unity among the followers of Christ is based upon what the apostles taught (John 17:20, 21), We are to be “one” as the Father and the Son are one. Unity cannot and must not be in the absence of truth. Should a “union” exist without the truth of the Lord, that is all it would be-union. Jesus prayed for unity-unity based on apostolic teaching.
Christ is one; the body (church) of Christ is one, and so must Saints then know the essential need for oneness (1 Cor. 1:13; 12:20). Division is condemned by the Lord. The word used by the apostles in their condemnation for disunity is schisma, and properly means a cleft or rent. It is used metaphorically to mean dissension or division. Every Christian should realize both his ability to serve the Lord and his responsibility to contribute toward oneness among God’s people upon the sacred trust of truth. Paul says, “. . . there should be no schism in the body . . .” (1 Cor. 12:25). The problem of division existed in the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 11:18), and it was because of carnality (1 Car. 3:3).
Yes, unity is demanded by the Lord. However, He never wants unity among His people at the expense of truth. We are commanded to “speak the same thing . . . that there be no divisions among you . . .” (1 Cor. 1:10). Opinion is not the basis for unity, but rather the word of God. In opinions, we must give deference. In opinions, we can afford to sacrifice our own to get along with others, but we cannot sacrifice truth to get along with anyone.
Sometimes brethren demand what the will of God will not allow and this forces conscientious brethren out. Through the years faithful brethren have had to leave where they worshiped for years simply because some interjected works or relationships which the Bible neither authorized nor sanctioned. This division is sinful. Make efforts to contribute to Bible unity among brethren.
Truth Magazine XXII: 45, p. 731
November 16, 1978