Unity in the church ranks at the top of my preference list for the Body of Christ.
Reality is another thing altogether. UNITY appears to be a rare commodity, at times, an elusive hope for the Pastor, congregation and denomination.
What I hear, what I see and what I read suggests disunity and differences often codify into polarized positions, camps, groups offering little hope for resolution.
My adult life has been lived out where unity was essential to His calling, His Kingdom advance – both through His church and among pastoral leaders.
The prayer of Jesus in John 17 is a high calling and compelling challenge. My aspirational dream is that the people I served, the leaders I journeyed with mirrored the heart of Jesus revealed in His prayer –
- “Everything I have is yours, and everything you have is mine, and I am glorified in them. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one.” John 17:10-11.
John’s record of His passionate, Holy expectation for unity that looks like, behaves like the unity expressed through the Godhead – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – is neither arbitrary or negotiable. The expectation of Jesus for unity surely declares disunity in the Godhead to be an irreconcilable thought. Unity, on the other hand, seems a rightful expectation of our Savior, for His church and for all of us who lead.
From John 17 we board a “slow train” for a journey into the abyss of disruption, disturbance, division, disobedience and disunity described in I Corinthians by the Apostle Paul, founding Pastor of the Corinthian church. The Body of Christ at Corinth is a fractured congregation. It is consumed with:
- Personality fixation: a gravitational pull toward favorite “preacher” – 1 Corinthians 1
- Unspeakable immorality: my read of chapter 5 is akin to a contemporary read concerning moral decay -1 Corinthians 5
- The tragic misuse of God given gifts given solely to bring glory to Christ Jesus: – 1 Corinthians 12, 13, 14.
Clearly, Corinth is a church in disarray, seething with disunity and division, thus limiting its Gospel impact upon Corinth, a city desperate for the Gospel.
Disunity is not isolated to a local congregation. The reality is this, disunity and division among CHURCH LEADERS is a current challenge for all of us committed to Biblical fidelity, SBC church polity and His calling to walk and lead together in unity.
I would not pretend to answer for you, therefore I desperately need the Scriptures to speak –
- “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in Unity.” Psalm 133
- “And over of these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect Unity.” 3:14
I offer these questions for your consideration, to “PONDER”:
- Will I fully, completely reject uniformity as expectation?
- Will I seek, personally, to understand Biblical unity?
- Am I willing to stand alone, resolute, but Christlike upon Biblical principles?
- Am I genuinely a Kingdom unifier or a Kingdom disrupter?
- Am I an Encourager or am I a Critic?
- Do I remain a learner so that I may lead effectively?
- Is my confidence solidly built upon Christ and His Word?
- What ONE step in preserving His Unity, mission, message and hope am I willing to take…..TODAY.
Here’s the deal….I’m in! Let’s do this for His glory and for Kingdom Advance together!
Cecil W. Seagle
Chasing Biblical Unity With You