Our Lord, on the night of His betrayal, prayed for unity among His followers. He prayed that they would be as united as are He and the Heavenly Father (Jn. 17:20-21). He stated that such complete unity would be a powerful message to the non-Christian world that He really is our Savior and Lord, the Son of God sent by God the Father. The world still needs this message desperately. The disunity among those calling themselves Christians greatly weakens the message.
A loose kind of unity has been promoted between some denominations. They state that all denominations can agree on belief in God and Christ while holding different personal church doctrines. The technical term describing this loose unity movement is ecumenism. While it may sound good on the surface, the concept breaks down when it is realized that nothing has really changed or been settled. Basically, everybody still believes whatever they want to believe. They just call themselves united.
There are some within the Lord’s church that seem to promote a similar kind of unity. They keep talking about establishing a dialog whereby we can better communicate with others who teach differently from what we teach. But true Christian unity must be that for which Christ prayed, as noted above. Ultimately, a determination has to be made as to what the Bible really teaches and what our positions ought to be thereon.
Since the scriptures teach the concept of “sound doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:3), there must exist, by implication, the possibility that some doctrine might not be “sound.” Sound doctrine must be clarified, and unsound doctrine must be recognized, admitted and refuted. All the dialog in the world will accomplish nothing ultimately productive unless it gets down to these basic matters. Believing, teaching and living by the truth of God’s word is the only basis for true Christian unity. We must put personal feelings, pride and ambition aside and simply accept God’s will communicated through His word…