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Lucifer set the whole disunity thing moving in heaven. War was initiated within those pure gates. He chose his own way, and there has been division ever since. The perfect unity of the universe was tarnished. A third of the created angels were cast out, unfitting themselves for their amazing estate. This division has been passed on and now infects our tiny planet. This globe has seen conflicts, wars, and bloodshed, and recent events among the nations testify to the great need for unity and oneness. Disunity plagues humanity.
Unity is essential for the happiness and harmony of all things. But Satan has successfully managed to tweak even this—we might have thought “untweakable”—subject. Beneath the sophistication of his counterfeit unity it turns out there is really little more than theological pluralism, the “peaceful” coexistence of truth and error. Set forth in some areas of the Adventist Church, this kind of “unity” has a subtle trend to undermine. Biblical beliefs, lifestyle practices, sense of mission, and our unique form of church government—all are impacted.
This is not all. Mixing truth with error or vice versa, does one of two things, sometimes both. When error is put with truth, truth is robbed of its luster, purity, and power. When a bit of truth is dropped in with error, error is given credibility. Some are dangerously fooled. We must not be seduced by Satan’s counterfeit form of unity, theological pluralism. By subtle means we would be immersed in confusion and God’s church robbed of Holy Spirit power.
This article and three to come will consider what authentic Biblical unity entails. True unity will be contrasted with the counterfeit. We will suggest practical responses the believer can offer when he sees certain things taking place in our Lord’s churches, schools, hospitals, and administrative offices in those dark times when they are drifting into the practice of unbiblical ideologies.
Christ’s Prayer for Unity
Jesus’ prayer for unity is found in John 17. There, we are treated to one of the most powerful prayers for His church. The Apostle John recalls our Lord and Savior’s last words before His crucifixion and death for us. The message reveals His innermost thoughts for the leaders He has trained. Jesus prayed:
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me
through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and
I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that
thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them;
that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that
they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou
hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me (John 17:20-23).
Considering this prayer in its entirety, it becomes clear that a primary concern of Christ was for unity. Five times He prayed for His followers that “they may be one, as we are” (vs. 11), “that they all be one” (v. 21a), “that they also may be one in Us” (v. 21b), “that they may be one, even as we are One” (v. 22), and “that they may be made perfect in One” (v. 23) (emphasis added). This unity that our Savior prayed for is founded in the Word of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The unity seen here is not first that followers might be one with each other. Nor was it simply harmony and fellowship amongst believers the world over. Rather, it was a unity based on two points: Unity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and unity with the apostles’ teaching.
First, we have, “that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21b). This is unity with the God family, the three powers of the heavenly trio: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is seen when the church prays humbly for power to live in obedience to the truths and leadings of the Spirit Whom the Father and Son send. It is only as Christ’s followers are “in Us” (that is, in the Father and Son, through the Spirit) that can they truly “be one” with each other.
In other words, only as we are connected to Christ, may we find full unity with one another. For, “without me,” Jesus said, “you can do nothing” (John 15:5b). This means we will humbly accept the correction of the Spirit and His guidance into all truth, including His leading through the end-time gift of prophecy (Revelation 1:2, 3; 12:17; 19:10). On this platform of individual and personal oneness with God, rests the hope of full unity in the church.
Christ also said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” (John 17:20). Here is that unity which comes to all believers “through their word.” That word is the word of the disciples whom Jesus was praying for, who would become the apostles of the church. The unity He wants to see in His church is one in harmony with the teachings of Christ’s inspired apostles. It is spiritual and it is doctrinal. It is grounded on the Word of God. Like the apostolic church, believers in God’s end-time church must “devote themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship” (Acts 2:42).
Any ideology or practice rumbling down the pike that is not in harmony with God’s teachings, hinders Christ’s prayer for unity. Faithful believers must courageously and kindly reject such ideologies, regardless of who promotes them. It is that unity in friendship with Christ and the grand truths He taught, handed down through the ages in His Word, for which we must humbly pray every day.
8 replies on “A Unified Church, Part 1: Christ’s Prayer for Unity”
Disunity results from a turning away from the High Ideals and perfect plan God set in Motion in His Wisdom for OUR PERFECT CONNECTION and PERFECT HAPPINESS. We turn away with HIS Universal Throne.
When entities within the Laodicean Church elect the same path, of Rebellion against “Thus Saith the Lord” we are not to FOLLOW their example but rather to connect with the Throne of God and choose this day whom we will serve!!! REGARDLESS OF THE PRICE!!!
While we are not to encourage DISUNITY, neither are we to TOLERATE REBELLION!!! We must meet it HEAD-ON!!!
Keep up the great work and move steadfastly to find UNITY IN THE SPIRIT!!! If you have the courage to see this through, it is clear the Remnant Movement is not far behind manifested by it’s Perfect Unity in the Spirit.
May God lead us all as we move steadfastly down this path in these final hours of Earth’s History. May HE give us courage and wisdom to carry this battle to it’s foretold conclusion.
Gailon Arthur Joy
Read the text again Pastor Lambert.
Unity is rooted in Jesus – not in “truth” or in amazing facts or in the interpretation of the scriptures. A more humble exegesis of the text would find that it is in the unifying reality and person of Jesus alone that we can come together as one.
Insisting that unity emerge from uniformity of belief is to pervert Jesus’ prayer from the outset. And as long as we do so, we will sadly not find unity we both hope for.
I am at a loss to understand on what basis you create a fundamental dichotomy between Jesus and truth. Why would you think that the author is separating Jesus from it? Do you doubt the existence of verities?
Please do not confuse us with abuse of words or concepts. Jesus and the Truth are one. We do not have Jesus in physical form. We have His Spirit: the Spirit of truth. It is love of the truth that makes us God’s children and that enables us to be saved and Paul is clear that we have to be willing to receive love “of the truth” that we might be saved. The Spirit leads us into all truth and is the Truth. The problem we face here is the unification or integration of Adventism into the order of the world. The world is ordaining women and lifting and pushing women into leadership positions. The world has its people among us who are taking us in the same direction. It has nothing to do with “fairness” or “equality” or treatment of women. It is pure integration of Adventism with the world. All this scholarly waffle is just foliage. The tree is the world in Adventism.
Let me take this further. Once we allow that the world can dictate agenda and policy to Adventism which we have been at for years now, we must be honest and accept that as a people we HAVE changed masters. We have another leader; not the Spirit of the Living God. We need to be honest. May this explains why we have had a change of logo! It is a different church with a different Spirit. The confusion we have over this is not Biblical, it is a human resources issue. How do we have workers in positions of power who have all these spurious degrees and they are spurious because they muddy instead of clarifying the waters: how do we have these people in the employ of the church? Those who love the truth and who walk in it have fellowship. That is the Biblical position. What we are not telling each other is that we have a political not a doctrinal issue here and how is it that in light of Matthew 23:8,9: how is it we have a political issue in this church?
It is a human resources issues. How do we have people in our employ who do not have their theological foundations right and who drag us into these muddy waters. I have a suggestion. Once we have cleared this matter theologically at this GC, we need to reassign some of our officers to less critical roles, never mind their degrees. We have to have a motion to reassign all those who support unbiblical positions. Not punitive, just sensible. We do not want this issue to show up again.
There is no question that we are fighting for our integrity as a people. We have to retain not just our “sola scriptura” here but we have to retain our mission: the proclamation of Revelation 14. These are not pleasant positions but if we lose the battle here we lose our reason for existence. We must not fear division of the church. That is God’s department. Ours is to be true to scriptural precedent and do nothing we cannot defend from the Bible and that conclusively. My own fear is we are reaping the results of somnambulism. We have been sleeping through the foundational motions of this drift by placing implicit trust in human leadership. We have seen many changes, including our logo (which may be deemed a miniscule point but is not because it is symbolic of a greater shift in identity) and we have said nothing. We have seen women introduced into pastoral roles and made no significant protest and we have seen women elders ordained and said nothing worth noting and now this movement wants global female church leadership or headship and we are alarmed? We as a whole people should awake to the business of our church and ensure we let nothing slip by us without a careful examination of origins and content. That means: WATCH THE MINISTERS and keep THEM in line! The devil still carries a great big shoe and if you sleep he will slip it on you!
Noel, are you really fighting for “your integrity as a people,” or are you fighting for patriarchal values that permeate every group and institution in your world?