When all humanity at one time in history spoke the same language and had a common goal, all men began to do something that was awesome. They supposed that they would build a tower whose top might, in their thinking, reach even into heaven (Gn 11:4). Their ambition was wrong, but their unity was strong. God made a proclamation concerning their ability. Our inherent ability to be united and strong was the way He made us. The proclamation was that “… nothing will be impossible for them that they have imagined to do” (Gn 11:6). When we get together, we get strong. This is our gift from our Creator. When we speak the same language and have the same goal, nothing will be impossible for us.
Satan’s greatest weapon against us, therefore, is to orchestrate us into biting and devouring one another in senseless debates over nonsense. The Holy Spirit cautioned some brethren who involved themselves in such: “But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you not be consumed by one another” (Gl 5:15). We will thus give no place to Satan in these matters. We will construct no theological boxes that enshrine opinions. At all costs, we will seek to defend our unity with all those who have obeyed the gospel. However, we will not give way to those who would infringe on our precious freedom that we have in Christ. We will allow no box makers to draw us into controversies that lead to more confusion. We will build no theological boxes ourselves into which we would steal away the freedom of others. This is necessary in order to be the one organic and universal body of Christ.
The end result of box-making theologies is the establishment of an assortment of denominations composed of adherents who defend their boxes by conforming to common theologies or traditions. Because this cocooning behavior is so prevalent in the religious world, we need to take another look at some of those key statements of Scripture that reveal mandates concerning the organic unity of the body of Christ. As disciples of Jesus, it is our task to be unified in our diverse opinions. Our obsession for unity should be so strong that we should be willing to forgo all contentious attitudes in the midst of our differences. We must remember that a contentious spirit will always lead to the formation of a new denomination in Christendom, which thing we struggle to abolish for the sake of reaching the world for Jesus. When we maintain the unity of the faith in the bond of peace, we are powerful. And since God works in those who are unified, then we have the privilege of experiencing the awesome power of the Spirit in our lives.
[Lecture series introduction October 4]