Statement on Christian Unity

Our Christian basis for unity is in that we all share the same blood, we have all been redeemed by our brother Christ.  But we also have our unity in the fact that we share the same human condition. We are made in the image of God and are unique in creation. Yet we also are all equally flawed. None of us have the right answers, none of us are perfect, none of us can make it without each other. Additionally, we all share the same purpose- to draw nearer to God and to be transformed into his likeness each day.

Our objective should therefore be to work with one another, recognizing our collective and individual strengths and weaknesses so that we can complement the work God is trying to do in us – our transformation for the good of ourselves and of the world. We will never agree on everything (doctrine or opinion), but our unity as stated above is that which carries us through our disagreements. Our foundation in unity is the power that allows us to trust and bend when we need to and stand strong when we need to. This is a good vision to call our own and it is also a vision that is open or flexible enough to allow God to direct our work and efforts according to his will.

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2 thoughts on “Statement on Christian Unity

  1. I just read an article on CNN.com regarding unity in the Catholic Church without cultural uniformity (i.e., as Anglican congregations join while retaining their rites). I then wrote a post about the relationship of unity and doctrinal uniformity. In general terms, does unity require uniformity?

  2. Thanks for your comment and question. I truly believe that unity does not require uniformity. In fact, if uniformity actually exists, then I believe unity cannot exist as its product. True uniformity of doctrine and belief is really only a theory that people aspire to. It cannot really exist in reality. For uniformity to truly exist, all participants in the uniformity group must have a shared knowledge and common understanding of that which they are uniform on. For example, if a group claims to have a uniform belief about the nature of sin, this would require that each member have a truly equal knowledge of what the concept of sin is and what it means to the group. No two people can share exactly the same understanding of sin or any other subject for that matter. Each comes to the issue with certain preconceptions. Each interprets the information of the issue based on certain experiential life filters. And each forms his or her belief under the influence of these and many other variables that are unique to the individual. Therefore, no true uniformity of belief can ever occur between two or more humans on any subject.

    So, if humans are to have any “shared” beliefs, then those beliefs must be unified based on some other medium than a uniform understanding and agreement. If there is to be any unity in anything, it must be accepting of diversity. Uniformity between people does not and cannot exist – only diversity.

    So in my opinion, not only does unity not require uniformity, it cannot require uniformity because uniformity is impossible. Religious groups who claim to have unity because of their uniformity of doctrinal belief are actually displaying one of three behaviors:

    1. They are ignorant. They do not know about their lack of uniformity. Often, systems requiring uniformity have a necessary side-effect on its followers. The system encourages people to stop thinking for themselves. If people think, then they will come to see their inherent differences and opinions. Since differences are not allowed in these systems, people often stop thinking for fear that their thoughts will betray them.

    2. They are prideful. They do not wish to accept that uniformity is an impossibility because they enjoy the system they perpetuate and the perceived control they feel over their own lives. Therefore, they deny the truth, lying to themselves and others.

    3. They are insane and cannot live in reality.

    One of these three causes is usually responsible for a person’s not seeing truth. For example, think about those opposing Copernicus and Galileo. They wanted to remain the center of the universe… and if one disagreed with them, that person was “wrong”.

    So unity does not require uniformity. Well then, can unity exist at all? Of course it can. However, it must be based on something more elemental, less detailed and specific. This is why I argued in my post that the basis of Christian unity is in the fact that the same blood courses through the veins of all believers. God through Christ made each believer a “new creation”. Part of this newness is that we can all trace our rebirth back to Christ, the common source. This truth is elemental. It is simple. It does not try to answer the tough questions. It may even be riddled with paradox, but God often works that way.

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