By Dennis Tucker
At one of the Gainesville hospitals they have a register that shows their patients’ religious affiliation. I heard one of the staff workers say that they wished that all of these different churches would just unite. That caught my attention because recently in a Bible study that same idea was mentioned. Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, expressed that same desire. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (Jn. 17:20-21). Jesus did not wish for denominations and division but instead unity.
The result of unity would be great. As Jesus mentioned in his prayer, the unity would be proof that he came from God. If every so-called Christian would apply the Bible the same, we would be able to convince others that Jesus is God’s Son and we are his disciples. We would also need fewer church buildings.
In Trenton there are a number of buildings dedicated to worship God. They were not built because of over crowding but because of religious division. Many are only half full on Sunday mornings. This is testimony to the fact that they are not in fellowship with the same God; if they were they would be in fellowship with each other. Fewer preachers would be necessary and less time would be used to teach against the false doctrines of many of these churches. Can anyone question the good that would come about by true religious unity?
What would have to be done to establish unity among all religious people? We are not talking about union but unity. Union seeks to bind people together along with their differences. Unity seeks to do away with all differences and establish a true togetherness.
1. We would have to let Christ be the head of his church. “And He is the head of the body, the church” (Col. 1:18a). This means that there would not be a “Pope” or any other unbiblical office to guide the church.
2. We would have to cast aside all creeds and doctrines except the Bible. The Book of Mormon, Discipline of the Methodist Church, Baptist Manual, etc., would be thrown away. “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11a). The Bible would be our only guide.
3. We would teach the Bible plan of salvation. We would teach the same things as the Apostles taught on the Day of Pentecost and throughout the New Testament. “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 2:38).
4, We would worship God as the Bible instructs us. We would sing with our hearts (Col. 3:16), give on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:1,2), observe the Lord’s Supper every first day of every week (Acts 20:7), pray to our heavenly Father (Acts 2:42), and study his Word (Acts 2:42).
5. We would let the church be the church. That means we would not make it a social institution nor create a system of government different from that mentioned in the Bible.
Everything mentioned above would create true religious unity. Jesus would be glorified and souls would be saved.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 12, pp. 355-356
June 20, 1991