We don’t focus enough on unity. It’s hard work.
Believers through the centuries have been skilled at declaring, accusing, judging, or condemning those who embrace differing biblical convictions—or who have experienced personal failings—as corrupted, deceitful, or heretical. Over the millennia, Christians have burned such folk at the stake. Today, we simply fire up a blog or magazine article to scorch those we wish to condemn.
To be clear, I believe in the authority of Scripture, core values, and the essential nature of the kerygmatic core of the Gospel: the death, burial, resurrection, and return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Those are ideas to live and to die for. But when we get much beyond that core, we find ourselves in a dreadful morass that inhibits the great commission.
The world is watching.
The behavior of the greater body of Christ is being observed each moment by an ever-intently watching world. While we invest massive energy in attempts to perfect each other, the world around us often sees a divisive, mean-spirited rabble of perfectionists. It may seem to them that we invest little time in loving our neighbors or reaching out to the billions who are searching, lonely, and hurting.
Where am I going with this?
From the beginning of my work as a publisher, my mission has been to bring differing convictions to the marketplace of ideas, where those ideas can be discussed calmly and respectfully, though passionately. I’ve been honored to publish people with widely different points of view, and have seen that dialog produce spiritual growth, real life change, and greater theological unity between widely varying traditions.
That affirmed, I commonly hear authors and writers take off after those they perceive as heretical—often people they’ve never met, much less talked with in depth. All this over matters of opinion I’m not at all sure qualify as being at the core of the Gospel.
As Jesus’s ministry drew to a close, as reflected in John 17, one of His great passions was that the unity of his body would reflect the beauty and power of the Good News. Whether you’re writing a book, drafting a blog, speaking to a friend or someone in your community – seek first the path to harmony and unity.