Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Unity in the Faith -

Unity is such a buzz word and rightly so. It does and should urge us to seek a fellowship which is God's body gathered together to serve Him and each other. A place where people have community and care for one another.
But what makes the local church different from a R.S.L or a golf club where people meet together and enjoy each others company?
The local church is different because Biblical Unity is always based upon Truth. It's never mere emotionalism or desire or having a common goal.
Paul in Philippians 4 pleads with Euodia and Syntyche to agree with each other, to be likeminded. Yet the likemindedness spoken of here has to do with "in the Lord". There is never an injunction in the Scriptures to "Unity at all cost", Unity requires discrimination.
Indeed in Philippians, as the great preacher Martin Lloyd Jones pointed out,

they are exhorted "to stand fast in the Lord" Just like he'd exhorted the Corinthian Church "to stand firm in the faith" 1 Cor 16:13 Similarly, Phil 1:27 "Stand firm in the one spirit". All these suggest the same thing. To stand firm in the Faith"
Here is not unity at the expense of Truth, here [ there ] is no unity with those who deny the deity of Jesus.

Martin Lloyd Jones speaks of the issue of unity in the context of the ecumenicalism of his day. One is to stand fast in the the Lord and that is to stand fast concerning the truth of the Lord.

We need to remember that when Paul speaks to Euodia and Syntyche that these are fellow Christians, those he speaks of in 4:3 whose "names are written in the book of life." They are the opposite of the dogs of Philippians 3:2 who all are to be on guard against. These two women are not false teachers riling against reach other but fellow saints whom he pleads with. As our passage tells us "they are in the Lord" yet their quarelling with each other is detrimental to fellowship and so Paul pleads with them to stop.
What we can say then from our passage is that these two were not arguing over some doctrine, some teaching of God's Word. If they had been we would have expected rightly for Paul to exhort the elders at Phillipi to correct their errors or where they lacked in teaching and urge them to be reconciled. Or if they had been two eagerly checking out what the other claimed Scripture said against Scripture, then I expect Paul would have applauded then as Acts 17 might suggest regarding the Bereans. Of course if that endeavour was being unkind and not seeking the others good then I believe he would have surely rebuked them about that, but I don't think that their problem was grounded in a dispute over Scriptures teaching, and that's why Paul pleads with them to stop and be likeminded.

What more can we learn from God's word to us about Unity here? Perhaps you might suggest something?
your brother in Christ,

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