in essentials, unity

Early Watch Tower CoverSo today, I spent an hour and a half talking with two very polite, very well prepared Jehovah’s Witnesses. And something they said cut me right to the heart, and I felt the need to respond.

As we sat and were talking about the Bible, one of the Witnesses said, “At least we are in unity. The rest of Christianity knows nothing but division.” I wanted to weep, for they are very right about this, but still very, very wrong. It is true that Christianity has known schism after schism for many years. I dearly wish that Christianity had not suffered so many.

Nevertheless, what I explained to them, I also explain here.

We Christians (especially us Baptists) are a contentious lot. We argue amongst ourselves on a regular basis. And while we are divided on many subjects, we are united in the essentials of

“the faith which was once delivered to the saints,” –Jude, verse 3.

Orthodox Christians stand in unity on the core beliefs of the faith. This is something no cultist can claim, now or ever. We are united in our belief in the Triune nature of the Godhead. We are united in our belief in the Deity of Christ. We are united in our belief in the substitutionary atonement of Christ. We are united in our belief in the physical, bodily resurrection of Christ. The essentials of Christianity are absolutely a place of unity.

We do diverge over the non-essentials however. We disagree about the nature of the gifts of the Spirit (tongues, prophecy, etc.), but we agree that the Spirit gifts all believers. We disagree in our ecclesiology, but we believe in one united, universal church. We disagree about the nature of biblical inspiration, but we agree that the Bible is, in fact, divinely inspired.

We adhere to the great historical statement of the Moravians,

“In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. But in everything, charity.”

It would be well for us all to never forget those truths…

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