Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Where the unity rubber meets the road

The chain blog that Alan started on unity has had lots of great conversations. If you haven’t read through it yet, you owe it to yourself to do so (see links at the bottom of the post). The most recent post, No, We can’t just get along, gets to a key issue in any conversations about unity. What are the legitimate reasons for separation because there clearly are some Scriptural reasons where we can and indeed must separate? Alan lists a few out:

1. Unrepentant Sin (Matt 18:15-20; 1 Cor 5:1-5)
2. Disorderliness (2 Thess 3:6)
3. Refusal to Work (2 Thess 3:7-10)
4. False Teaching (2 Thess 3:14-15; 1 Tim 1:20; 2 John 10-11)
5. Divisiveness (Rom 16:17-18; Titus 3:10-11)

Of those, number four is the tough one. I commented on his post with this:
#4 is the real crux of it, isn’t it? What is a “false teaching”? There was a time when I would have inclulded “Arminianism”, dispensationalism and infant baptism in that category. I still diasgree with all three of those but do they rise to the level of false teaching? I certainly wouldn’t let someone baptize my unregenerate child for the sake of unity but I wouldn’t see them baptizing their infant children as reason to break fellowship, even if I think they were wrong to do so. I spent the last couple of years in Michigan in a group that held more or less to a dispensational hermeneutic, which I likewise disagree with but we still had wonderful fellowship with them.

So what then? Certainly any teaching that denies the Gospel by either subtracting from it or adding to it rises to the level of false teaching. What about presuming to speak for God where He has not spoken (false prophecy?) This is a tough one.
What do you think? What are the legitimate reasons to separate from other Christians? Jump over to No, We can’t just get along and weigh in on the conversation…

Chain blog rules:

1) If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.

2) Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual “chain”. Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog.

3) When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of the previous post to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.


Here are the other posts...

“Links” in this chain blog:

1. “Chain Blog: Dealing with Divisive Issues Introduction” by Alan

2. “Chain Blog: Dealing with divisive issues starts with love” by Arthur

3. “I am divisive” by Jeremy

4. “Chain Blog: Please agree with me” by Jon

5. “Division and our shared humanity” by Andy

6. “Chain Blog: solving the problem” by Bobby

7. “Divisiveness: Acts 2 & Ugly Carpet” by fallenpastor

8. “Stimulating our Collective Memory” by Trista

9. “No, we can’t just get along” by Alan

10. Who will write the next “link” post in the chain?


Don Litchfield said...

"Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship."
— A.W. Tozer

Arthur Sido said...


Talking about and thinking about caring for the poor is not the same thing as actually caring for them. Talking about and thinking about loving your neighbor is not loving your neighbor. Talking about and thinking about unity in the Body of Christ is not unity.