preacherman

Friday, July 20, 2007

Uniformity and Unity

It is easy for us as Christians to confuse uniformity as unity. We go to church and we dress the same. The order of worship is the same (traditional churches (2 songs prayer etc) progressive churches 5 songs standing, prayer, etc). The uniformity of everyone thinks the way I do or else. We must as Christians understand that there is a difference. People in our churches come from different back grounds, different family make-ups, conversion experiences (some raised in the church, some not, some switching faith traditions, others no religious backgrounds at all). We need to understand that their differences in our churches that have different political views. So, with so many differences what makes the church united? Love?

Why does uniformity different than unity? How are they different? How can uniformity damage unity in the Church? What are we to be united about as Christians? What was Jesus prayer in John 17 was a it a prayer of uniformity or unity? Why would Jesus pray for unity? Why was it so import for Jesus to pray for unity before he went to the cross? Do you see more people striving for uniformity or unity in the Churches of Christ today? What do you going on in the church you attend? Will unity ever be possible? Why or Why not? How does it effect the world when there is not unity in the Church in a town, whether it be big or small? Do bigger towns strive for unity with each other? Meet together? Fellowship with each other? How does it effect a small town when there is no unity in the Church? I know I asked alot of questions again; discuss what you like.

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

29 Comments:

Blogger Alan said...

Hi preacherman,

You knew I'd have something to say on this one! My blog is an almost two-year-long (so far) effort to answer this question. But in a nutshell, I think we are to be unified because of the things identified in Eph 4:1-6, 1 Cor 15:1-11, 1 Pet 1:3-9 etc. We have those things in common, and that should cause us to be united in heart, as we grow together to be more completely united (Eph 4:11-16.) Unity is not agreement on a set of facts, but submission to the same Lord, and membership through adoption into the same family.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

There will be a day when we will be unified the question is, can that be achieved before we get to heaven. In heaven we will all be one. In the meantime we get in our own way.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Liz Moore said...

God created us all to be unique, so in my "opinion" unity and uniformity are not the same. We all come to the table with different ideas, different backgrounds, different styles. Our unity comes from as Alan said, submitting ourselves to the same Lord, being unified in our ultimate goal to live with Him eternally. If God didn't think there was more than one good idea out there, why would he have created us all so differently? Again, just one humble "opinion". Lots of great questions! Thanks for provoking us to think!

4:22 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Alan,
I am glad you to see you and have you add to this discussion. I totally agree that it is the submission to God but do Christians know how to do that today? Are we preaching and if not, should we?

4:51 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Matt,
Glad to have you stop by add your thoughts on this topic. I pray that it will be achieved before we get to heaven but if not, we do know that one day we will. Again, I appreciate you adding to the discussion.

4:53 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Liz,
Your opinion is ways appreciated on this blog. Yes, I also believe that unity and uniformity is not the same thing. As you mentioned we are all unique. I believe as Christians we should always be striving for unity in the Church. Thanks for adding your thoughts to this disucssion they are always welcome.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Royce Ogle said...

Preacherman,

"Uniformity" almost always demands "comformity" while biblical "unity" makes no such demand.

The "unity of the faith" that we are to maintain is a result of our common faith in Jesus. We don't make that unity, we are only to maintain unity. There is a big difference.

"Uniformity" and or "conformity" never acheives "unity". Because I prefer a particular thing done in a particular way on Sunday morning I demand that you do the exact same thing in the exact same way or I refuse to have fellowship with you. That is an attemp at conformity and the end is uniformity, but it will not produce unity.

Unity works like this. I know you worship in a different way than I do. I also know that you believe different things than I do on a variety of Bible doctrines. But I also know that you have declared your faith in Jesus, by word and deed, and that you want others to know Him. Only because of your faith in Jesus, and mine, we have unity as brothers. We can love each other, pray for each other, and work along side each other in scriptural unity.

What has caused the great problems in Restoration churches (coC & Christian) is that personal preferences have been elevated to the same level of authority as Scripture and in many cases even more so. The result is that there will not be unity with people who usurp the authority of the Word of God for their own pleasure.

Grace to you,
Royce Ogle

6:14 PM  
Blogger NaNcY said...

i would like to see unity between all Christians. i am not looking for agreement with one another, just that all to have Love for one another. If God's Love is in you then Love one another. That is the way to bring unity. I would like the word of God's love for one another to be spread like wild fire. Not just Love for those in one church, in one denomination, in one town, in one country...but in all and for all. Why can't every day be a revival of God's Love for one another?

6:20 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Preacherman,

In the Restoration Movement, I think we have some concepts deeply embedded in our DNA that stand in the way of the wholehearted unity that overcomes differences. We tend to emphasize the distinguishing features of our "brand" in our preaching. Instead of highlighting distinctions between Christian groups, we should be highlighting the distinctions between us and the worldly culture around us. If we were all doing that, and acknowledging others who were doing likewise, we'd have a lot more positive momentum for meaningful unity.

9:21 PM  
Blogger NaNcY said...

how about uniforms instead of uniformity?

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Romans13:14

for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Galatians 3:27

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proudbut gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5

9:29 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

Preacherman,
I like Alan's comments and list of Scriptures in his first post. In a local church, I would find it difficult to reach out to unbelievers if I were in a divisive church.

6:35 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Alan,
I agree that our focus should be on the lost. I believe focus to much alot of times on other "things" instead reaching out to the world who needs Jesus. I appreciate your comments.

10:15 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Nancy,
I don't like the uniform idea. :-)
I think the scripture you bring to light is great. Thanks for sharing those scriptures with us all and pointing them out to us in this discussion. I think it brings a new perspective to the discussion.

10:16 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Terry,
I agree. Divisivness is one the devil's greatest tool in us reaching out to the lost. Their must be love within the local congregations in order for us to be effective. Excellent point!

10:19 AM  
Blogger laymond said...

Kinny after reading what Alan had to say I knew just what I would add, But after reading what liz moore said I realized she had already said it. May God bless.

8:24 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Laymond,
Thanks, I agree that Liz had a very great point and respect her opinion. Thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion as always.

10:09 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Jesus prayer to God in John 17:20-26 for us before going to the cross.
A Prayer for Unity!
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May that also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unityto let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am , and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you have you loved me before the creation of the world.'
Rightous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I mayself may be in them."

Jesus may we strive to answer the prayer. May we love one another. May we strive for the unity that you prayed for so the world might see and believe. Amen.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Hi preacherman,

You might be interested in this new effort to bring people together from various parts of the Restoration Movement for dialog:

http://www.connect4change.net/

4:48 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Alan,
Thanks for the information and link.

11:10 PM  
Blogger dbbjavance said...

Hi preacherman,

You invited me to make a comment on your blog. I like your questions. I wrote a paper on unity entitled, "Pilgrimage to Christian Unity." It's too long to put it on my blog, but I did post it on our congregation's web page: www.southsidechurchofchrist.us.

Also, John 17 leads me to believe that ultimately the most heartfelt desire of Jesus, the Son of God, is that we understand the love that the Father and Son have for each other; and we also receive their love for us and seek to share in the glory of this eternal communion. This kind of fellowship and unity is the purpose of the New Covenant and it is realized only in the Spirit. Unity based on doctrinal purity is the prideful delusion of sectarian gatekeepers; and unity based on uniformity is a parochial parody.

Thank you for your invite!

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