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UNITY OF THE SPIRIT Unity-in-Diversity or By Tom Roberts.

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2 UNITY OF THE SPIRIT Unity-in-Diversity or By Tom Roberts

3 UNITY OF THE SPIRIT- A Desire Of All Disciples Psalms 119:63 “I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts.” “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Psalms 133:1

4 Longing For Fellowship - from the beginning of church “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul…” “..love the brotherhood” Acts 4:32 1 Pet 2:17 Heb 12:23 “..general assembly and church of the first born who are registered in heaven..”

5 Purpose of this lesson needs to be stated Emphasize our desire for unity Promote an understanding of Unity of the Spirit Distinguish between it and Unity-in-Diversity Open doors of communication and encourage brotherly respect and sharing of spiritual ties

6 We Have A “Common Salvation” “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation….” Jude 3 This “common salvation” includes - a common Savior a common hope of eternal life a common respect for scripture

7 This “common salvation” was made possible by the Spirit “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” Rom 8:14 1 Cor 12:13 “ For by one spirit we were all baptized into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free - and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

8 Thus - “Unity of the Spirit” It is “of” or “from” the Spirit It is not brought into existence by man It was divinely created in order to weld “brothers” into a “brotherhood” It also binds “brothers” to God in a spiritual kingdom

9 “Unity of the Spirit” is controlled by God As the sea: “When I fixed My limit for it, and set bars and doors; When I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther, And here your proud waves must stop’!” Job 38: Man cannot change parameters To limit unity when God extends To extend unity when God denies

10 “Unity of the Spirit” is An Objective Relationship “To his own Master he stands or falls” Rom 14:4 God’s word describes limits of unity Our subjective decisions do not change or alter God’s will They may not coincide with God’s fellowship

11 Man Cannot Extend Fellowship Unilaterally No creed of man can extend unity beyond God’s stated will No pronouncement of man can be more inclusive: “He is a child of God in prospect and my brother indeed.” No exaggerated generosity will effectively broaden fellowship as “circles” are extended

12 Man Cannot Limit God’s Fellowship Unilaterally No creedal barriers or walls No sectarian or party associations No “yellow tag of quarantine” No church overlord - as Diotrephes - 3 Jn 9-10 True fellowship with God is particularly and exclusively the privilege of God

13 Unity of the Spirit Reflects Godhead - “Oneness” “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” It is divine in its nature! Eph 4:4-6

14 Unity-in-Diversity Reflects Sectarianism “Division” Historical Identity of concept U-I-D undergirds denom platform By definition, there is no unity An oxymoron - “contradictory terms brought sharply together” Can “blessings & cursings” proceed from same mouth? - Jas 3:9 Can U-I-D be true unity?

15 But We Are Told They Are The Same Effective device of the Devil U-I-D is inclusive of error without distinction from truth Error is “trivialized” and efforts to oppose error are demonized Truth is forced into union with error 2 Cor 6:14-16 What fellowship is light/darkness?

16 Can They Be the Same? “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” But, we are told…. Isa 5:20 Unity-in- Diversity Is the same as Unity of the Spirit

17 True Peace (Unity) Comes By - - “Preaching the whole counsel of God” - not by compromise! No peace where truth is left out! No peace where error exists! U-I-D is peace that world gives! Acts 20:27 Jno 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”

18 God Creates Unity of the Spirit - Man is to maintain it. “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph 4:1-3

19 God Creates Unity of the Spirit - Man is to maintain it. “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph 4:1-3

20 God Creates Unity of the Spirit - Man is to maintain it. “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph 4:1-3

21 God Creates Unity of the Spirit - Man is to maintain it. “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph 4:1-3

22 “Unity of the Spirit” is realized - As a single Christian Acts 8:38 Phil 1:1 In a local congregation Heb 12:23 In the brotherhood

23 As A Single Christian - I have fellowship with God alone Through the message 1 Jn 1:3 As the Ethiopian Acts 8:26-39 This is unity of the Spirit We should “do good” - Gal 6:10 Grow in God’s grace 2 Pet 1:3-11 Teach others 2 Tim 2:2 Find other saints Acts 9:26 Acts 8:38

24 In A Local Congregation - Fellowship with brethren & God As a local member 1 Cor 12:14 Knit together Eph 4:11-16 This is also unity of the Spirit “Oneness” still the goal 1 Cor 1:10  Doctrinal unity Acts 2:42  “One heart and soul” Acts 4:32 Phil 1:1

25 In the Brotherhood - (still Unity of the Spirit) Fellowship with all brethren & God Right Hand of Fellowship Gal 2:9 Active participation 2 Cor 9:13 Concurrent, not corporate action Some deny this aspect of fellowship  Would restrict to local church  Evades resp for addressing sin among brotherhood members Heb 12:23

26 It is needless to omit any aspect of the Spirit’s unity Each relationship has own blessing  As individual relates to God  Intra-congregational strength  Inter-congregational recognition of soundness or apostasy s “Them” or “us” 1 Jn 2:19 s Reputation 1 Thes 1:6-7 s Exchange of teaching Col 4:16 s Testing the spirits 1 Jn 4:1

27 Misconceptions have created a demand for unity-in-diversity “Unity of Spirit” too restrictive “Impossible to have unity In doctrinal matters” “Lack of clarity” to achieve unity “We must tolerate differences” in matters of doctrine and morals Thus, a re-definition process has turned Unity of the Spirit into Unity-in-Diversity!

28 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “Some of those who mistake conformity for unity appear to be startled when they first learn that we suggest there may be unity-in- diversity. Actually we go much further than that. We assert that if there is any unity at all it must be unity in diversity.” (Carl Ketcherside, The Twisted Scriptures, p )

29 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “The implications of all this to unity and fellowship are weighty. It means that the gospel itself, not our doctrinal interpretations, is the basis of our being one in Christ and in fellowship with each other... (cont’d) Gospel- Doctrine Dis- tinction

30 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “ That is, when one believes in Jesus and obeys him in baptism, he is our brother and in the fellowship…this is oneness and this is unity…That fellowship is strengthened and made joyful by doctrine, but it is the gospel and not doctrine that determines fellowship... (cont’d) Gospel- Doctrine Dis- tinction

31 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “ In doctrinal matters there can be and will be diversity of opinion and interpretation. It was so with the apostles themselves. But this is good, for we stretch each other’s minds and help each other to grow in knowledge in our mutual search for truth…” (Leroy Garrett, Restoration Review, Ch. 17, pp ). Gospel- Doctrine Dis- tinction

32 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “ In doctrinal matters there can be and will be diversity of opinion and interpretation. It was so with the apostles themselves. But this is good, for we stretch each other’s minds and help each other to grow in knowledge in our mutual search for truth…” (Leroy Garrett, Restoration Review, Ch. 17, pp ).

33 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “ In doctrinal matters there can be and will be diversity of opinion and interpretation. It was so with the apostles themselves. But this is good, for we stretch each other’s minds and help each other to grow in knowledge in our mutual search for truth…” (Leroy Garrett, Restoration Review, Ch. 17, pp ).

34 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “ In doctrinal matters there can be and will be diversity of opinion and interpretation. It was so with the apostles themselves. But this is good, for we stretch each other’s minds and help each other to grow in knowledge in our mutual search for truth…” (Leroy Garrett, Restoration Review, Ch. 17, pp ).

35 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “The good news is that God "is able to make [the person] stand" who is wrong in his doctrinal conclusions but who is trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation. That is the only hope any of us has, since not one of us has figured out the truth on every subject and none of us ever will on this earth. Any religious system which speaks otherwise is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ and ought to be rejected. (Edward Fudge, “Grac ” Romans 14

36 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “The good news is that God "is able to make [the person] stand" who is wrong in his doctrinal conclusions but who is trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation. That is the only hope any of us has, since not one of us has figured out the truth on every subject and none of us ever will on this earth. Any religious system which speaks otherwise is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ and ought to be rejected. (Edward Fudge, “Grac ” Compare Paul : Eph 3:4; Jesus: Jn 8:32 Romans 14

37 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “ The present frontier is the frontier of a grace-based fellowship with all our brothers and sisters in Christ. A truth began to dawn on us in the 1960’s and 70’s and increasingly through the 1980’s. That truth is that God’s grace extends not only to our moral imperfections but also to our doctrinal short-comings” (Gary Person, Image Magazine, Sept/Oct, 1993, p. 32) Grace Covers Active Sins

38 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “ The present frontier is the frontier of a grace-based fellowship with all our brothers and sisters in Christ. A truth began to dawn on us in the 1960’s and 70’s and increasingly through the 1980’s. That truth is that God’s grace extends not only to our moral imperfections but also to our doctrinal short-comings” (Gary Person, Image Magazine, Sept/Oct, 1993, p. 32) Grace Covers Active Sins

39 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “ The present frontier is the frontier of a grace-based fellowship with all our brothers and sisters in Christ. A truth began to dawn on us in the 1960’s and 70’s and increasingly through the 1980’s. That truth is that God’s grace extends not only to our moral imperfections but also to our doctrinal short-comings” (Gary Person, Image Magazine, Sept/Oct, 1993, p. 32) Grace Covers Active Sins

40 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “ There should be room in the Christian fellowship for those who believe that Christ is the son of God, but who differ on eschatological theories such as premillennialism, ecclesiological matters such as congregational organization, on soteriological matters such as whether baptism is ‘for’ or ‘because of’ remission of sins” (Carrol Osburn, The Peaceable Kingdom, 1993, pp 90-91) “What Difference Does It Make?”

41 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “ There should be room in the Christian fellowship for those who believe that Christ is the son of God, but who differ on eschatological theories such as premillennialism, ecclesiological matters such as congregational organization, on soteriological matters such as whether baptism is ‘for’ or ‘because of’ remission of sins” (Carrol Osburn, The Peaceable Kingdom, 1993, pp 90-91) “What Difference Does It Make?”

42 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “ There should be room in the Christian fellowship for those who believe that Christ is the son of God, but who differ on eschatological theories such as premillennialism, ecclesiological matters such as congregational organization, on soteriological matters such as whether baptism is ‘for’ or ‘because of’ remission of sins” (Carrol Osburn, The Peaceable Kingdom, 1993, pp 90-91) “What Difference Does It Make?”

43 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “ There should be room in the Christian fellowship for those who believe that Christ is the son of God, but who differ on eschatological theories such as premillennialism, ecclesiological matters such as congregational organization, on soteriological matters such as whether baptism is ‘for’ or ‘because of’ remission of sins” (Carrol Osburn, The Peaceable Kingdom, 1993, pp 90-91) “What Difference Does It Make?”

44 But Please Notice -- If fellowship includes those who are baptized “because of” remission of sins, why not extend fellowship to all those who are in the denominational world who hold any view of baptism? In fact, Unity-in-Diversity has in view all those who accept the deity of Jesus regardless of baptism or not. This is an accurate picture of unity-in- diversity and must be remembered! “What Difference Does It Make?”

45 “But,” some say, “Those are radicals, not us.” “What is the basis for one’s hope before God? Is it not that we sustain a right relationship with God through Christ?… In other words - if one is right about Christ, then that one can be wrong about some doctrinal instruction without being lost, can he not?” (Arnold Hardin, The Persuader, XI:16) Brethren Closer To Home

46 “But,” some say, “Those are radicals, not us.” “What is the basis for one’s hope before God? Is it not that we sustain a right relationship with God through Christ?… In other words - if one is right about Christ, then that one can be wrong about some doctrinal instruction without being lost, can he not?” (Arnold Hardin, The Persuader, XI:16) What doctrine can we be wrong about? Worship? Work? Organization? Jesus? Brethren Closer To Home

47 “But,” some say, “Those are radicals, not us.” “On what basis do we establish the bounds of Christian unity? Are individual fellowship and congregational unity based on total agreement? Historical reality denies that unanimity existed in New Testament congregations or that it exists today. Is there, then, a scriptural basis for maintaining unity when brethren disagree? If so, what are the limits of the concept of unity- in-diversity?” (Ed Harrell, “The Bounds of Christian Unity, Christianity Magazine, March 1989, 6) Brethren Closer To Home

48 “But,” some say, “Those are radicals, not us.” “On what basis do we establish the bounds of Christian unity? Are individual fellowship and congregational unity based on total agreement? Historical reality denies that unanimity existed in New Testament congregations or that it exists today. Is there, then, a scriptural basis for maintaining unity when brethren disagree? If so, what are the limits of the concept of unity- in-diversity?” (Ed Harrell, “The Bounds of Christian Unity, Christianity Magazine, March 1989, 6) Compare Acts 4:32; 1 Cor 1:10; 4:17 Brethren Closer To Home

49 “But,” some say, “Those are radicals, not us.” “On what basis do we establish the bounds of Christian unity? Are individual fellowship and congregational unity based on total agreement? Historical reality denies that unanimity existed in New Testament congregations or that it exists today. Is there, then, a scriptural basis for maintaining unity when brethren disagree? If so, what are the limits of the concept of unity- in-diversity?” (Ed Harrell, “The Bounds of Christian Unity, Christianity Magazine, March 1989, 6) Brethren Closer To Home

50 What Are The Limits of Unity-in-Diversity? Most advocates recognize danger of this position! Most will attempt to place some limits on unity-in-diversity  Must accept deity of Jesus  Will not allow moral turpitude  Must not be factious, dogmatic  Must be honest  Must allow for lack of clarity

51 But - Once The Gate is Open - THERE IS NO STOPPING PLACE!

52 But - Once The Gate is Open - THERE IS NO STOPPING PLACE! One Doctrine Another Doctrine

53 But - Once The Gate is Open - THERE IS NO STOPPING PLACE! Divorce Error False Teachers Non-Literal Gen 1-2 Non-Literal Serpent Hell Is Not Eternal What Is Next?

54 Unity-in-Diversity Demands Toleration “Within certain limits, God grants to Christians the right to a private conscience in matters of ‘faith.’ I believe that right is discussed in Romans 14. However, whether or not one accepts my exegesis of that passage, honest minds must acknowledge the reality of a past and present Christian world that...

55 Unity-in-Diversity Demands Toleration “…tolerates contradictory teachings and practices on important moral and doctrinal questions.” (Ed Harrell, “The Bounds of Christian Unity,” May 1990, 134) Hailey and Adulterous Marriages Fellowship with False Teachers Error on Gen 1, 2, 3 Error on Eternal Punishment…. Where Does It Stop?

56 Yet Unity-in-Diversity Has Its Defenders “Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, ‘Why do your disciples transgress the traditions of the elders?’” Mt 15:1-2 Some say it is not our “tradition” to split over divorce question “How Shall We Treat Brethren With Whom We Disagree?” by Earl Kimbrough distributed by Bob Owen at Temple Terrace, Sept 1993 Tradition of the elders

57 Yet Unity-in-Diversity Has Its Defenders “Some of you disagree on divorce questions and you fellowship one another - so why can’t you fellowship others?” None of us fellowships error! All of us accept one man, one woman, for life, with one exception Areas of judgment permit differences: who gets to court house first, what is stated in the decree, etc. But If some were inconsistent…. Inconsistency

58 If Some Brethren Are Inconsistent... If someone could prove me inconsistent in my fellowship practice… does that change God’s truth? Does that authorize others to fellowship advocates of adulterous marriages - such as Olan Hicks, Harold Dowdy, Jerry & Don Bassett, W L Wharton, etc Could I fellowship “contradictory teachings and practices on important moral and doctrinal questions? ” Inconsistency

59 Yet Unity-in-Diversity Has Its Defenders “It would be less than honest to argue that scriptural local churches always exist without imperfections and, indeed, without some diversity of belief. At least two chapters written by the apostle Paul, Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 10 speak in detail of the proper approach to disagreement.” (Ed Harrell, “The Parameters of Fellowship,” Christianity Magazine, March/April, 1997, 20). “Every church practices unity-in- diversity” “You Practice What We Practice”

60 Every Local Church May Have Error In It Contention: Every local church has error - we fellowship error in every church - Romans 14 authorizes that and you practice what we practice! It is true that every growing church may have brethren of different maturity  Babes in Christ  Ignorant and untaught  Deliberate teachers of error  Rebels and heretics

61 But Romans 14 Does Not Authorize Fellowship With Sin! Context of Romans 14 - Matters that are  “Clean” - v 14  “Good” - v 16  “Pure” - v 20  Nothing inherently sinful  But matters of “authorized liberty”  1 Cor 8:9 - “this liberty of yours”  1 Cor 10:23 - “all things lawful” It is wrong to apply Rom 14 to sinful practices and fellowship sin!

62 But Romans 14 Does Not Authorize Fellowship With Sin! Romans 14:1-15:7 Cannot reverse its context! How, then, can Rom 14:1-15:7 authorize “contradictory teachings and practices on important moral and doctrinal questions? ” Rom 13:12-14 Condemns moral sins Rom 16:17-18 Condemns doctrinal sins Rom 14:1-15:7 Allows fellowship with sin?

63 But this is exactly what some are teaching! “Now the fellow who thought it could be a sin to eat those meats had to look at the other fellow and think he was sinning. Had to. In Rome, the fellow who thought it was a sin to eat any kind of meat would have thought you sinned if you ate a piece of meat. And yet Paul taught them that they should accept one another” Bob Owen, “We Differ, Can We Fellowship?” Concord, NC, Feb 19, 1995)

64 But this is exactly what some are teaching! “Now the fellow who thought it could be a sin to eat those meats had to look at the other fellow and think he was sinning. Had to. In Rome, the fellow who thought it was a sin to eat any kind of meat would have thought you sinned if you ate a piece of meat. And yet Paul taught them that they should accept one another” Bob Owen, “We Differ, Can We Fellowship?” Concord, NC, Feb 19, 1995)

65 How, then, do you handle sin in the local church? Listen carefully -  Matters of authorized liberty are described in Romans 14  Matters of sin and error (whether babes, ignorant or rebels are handled in  Eph 4:11-16  1 Thes 5:14  2 Thes 3:5-6  Jude 22-23, similar passages

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69 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity Thematic for Christianity Magazine No dissension allowed Few scriptures allowed in articles False teachers used constantly Editor Ed Harrell used 17 articles to defend Homer Hailey No other editor resisted or opposed Legacy of CM is its Unity-in-Diversity approach to error Accentuate Positive -Eliminate Negative

70 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity Under banner of unity - vilification Personal attacks on characters Destroy by slander and prejudice Open discussion appeals rejected Note: This has been one-sided and will continue that way There is willingness to meet & discuss the issues with respect & kindness We will not answer in kind…. Demonize Those Who Oppose

71 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “A pack of snarling curs, suspicious and paranoid, biting, snarling and snapping in all directions…” “…a paranoid frenzy of biting and devouring one another..” “..slander in the name of the gospel…” “journalistic and pulpit jingoism..” (Paul Earnhart, “Watch Them Dogs,” CM, July 1995; With All Boldness, Dec 1996). Demonize Those Who Oppose

72 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “Extremists who have their own cause to promote..” “..reckless and irresponsible…” (Editor’s Report, CM, Nov 1992). “Unrighteous and dishonorable…” “…sectarianism,” “jingoists” (Harry Pickup, Jr., University Heights, Lexington, KY, July 14, 1998; Forest Hills, Tampa, FL, Dec 1998, Q&A Session, audio tape) Most common appellative: “watchdog” Demonize Those Who Oppose

73 Historical Defense of Unity-in-Diversity “Scavengers” “looking for carrion,” “perennial gossips and fault-finders (often ‘nit-pickers’), “vultures” “unreasonable scrupulosity,” “witch hunters” and “brotherhood inquisitors” (James Adams, With All Boldness, July 1996, 5; ibid., August, 1994, 1-2). Such language has never been retracted Serves as impediment to fellowship Such language violates unity of Spirit Regardless, we want doors to be open Demonize Those Who Oppose

74 If “We” are doing it all wrong (too unloving & unkind) Who is going to deal with the problem of unity-in-diversity? It is a growing problem and must either be met or it will engulf brotherhood Clearly, only Jesus was perfect teacher If “we” have made mistakes, please step forward and deal with it better If “we” all died today, divorce, U-I-D, soft preaching, compromise, etc will still be here.

75 Conclusion What are you going to do about it? If I, and my brethren, have done it all wrong, will you take up the challenge and do it right? Where is your voice speaking out against the evils of divorce and those who advocate it? Where is your voice crying out against unity-in- diversity? Where is your voice speaking out against fellowship with “contradictory teachings and practices on important moral and doctrinal questions”? If you do, you may find yourself vilified as we have been. To be sure, there is room in the kingdom of God for different voices, different styles, who, at different times, deal with sin and Satan. If it is a matter of judgment as to how and how much sin is opposed, why is your judgment better than ours? But if your judgment is better, we will not strive about methods and details. You will gladly be received as you add your voice to those already in the battle.

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