John 17: 21a May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. (HCSB)
A Proposal For Unity Part 6: Accept One Another
All who have been adopted as sons of God through faith are obligated to accept one another as brothers.
In his ninth proposition
, Thomas Campbell called on all Christians to accept one another "as brethren, children of the same family and father, temples of the same spirit, members of the same body, subjects of the same grace, objects of the same divine love, bought with the same price, and joint heirs of the same inheritance. Whom God hath thus joined together no man should dare to put asunder.
When we fail to accept those whom God accepts, we are dividing the family of God. As Campbell stated in his tenth proposition
, division in the church is a direct violation of the Lord's express command. Paul wrote to the Galatians that those who practice dissension and factions will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Why, then, is the church characterized by division rather than unity? Campbell, in his eleventh proposition
, pointed to two causes. First, he said that divisions are caused by people neglecting parts of the revealed will of God. Second, he pointed to divisions caused by people making their opinions and inventions as terms of fellowship. The difficulty with Campbell's explanation has become evident in the subsequent two hundred years. Men have not been able to agree on what is an opinion or invention, and what is the revealed will of God. Those disagreements have formed the basis for more divisions than the actual issues that Campbell described.
Perhaps there is a better way to look at division in the church. There are two kinds of division: that which is authorized by scripture, and that which is not. The former divisions are not really divisions within the church, but divisions between the church and that which is not the church. The latter division are not only unauthorized, but contrary to the explicitly revealed will of God. These unauthorized divisions arise because of the deceived, proud and self centered nature of fallen man. They are the work of Satan, and they obstruct the mission of the church to the lost world.
So, here is the sixth proposal for unity:
Proposal #6: All who have been adopted as sons of God through faith are obligated to accept one another as brothers. Failure to accept those whom God has accepted is a violation of a direct command of God. Therefore, no division may take place without explicit authorization from the scriptures. No division may occur based on an inference from scripture.
Labels: Proposal for Unity