I have a book in my study with the title “Union in Truth”. The restoration plea is about unity—but any unity MUST be based in TRUTH! So many, even within the churches of Christ, have placed all their emphasis on unity and left out truth, or left out some of the truth! It has gotten so bad, that when a church of Christ like South Side places a strong emphasis on TRUTH they are considered as being divisive and legalistic! Believe me, I have heard all those labels thrown at me! Some would even argue that a church that stands solidly on the Biblical plan doesn’t want unity! I can speak for most, if not all, of the assembly here at South Side Church of Christ when I say that we love unity. We love the unity we have as churches of Christ when we have our county meetings! It is a great time of fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ!
Biblical unity, though, MUST ALWAYS be based on the truth of Scripture. Division does not happen when the truth is being taught and preached. Division comes when something is taught or practiced that goes against the Scriptures. So, in reality, it is not the truth that divides the church—it is false teaching!
I have always said, at least since I was taught well, that I am not non-denominational, I am anti-denominational. The very word “denomination” means to divide. When used in religious circles, denomination means: “a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices” (according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary). I thought the definition describes denominationalism well. But I also thought about how sad it is . . . “congregations are united in their adherence to ITS beliefs and practices”. At South Side Church of Christ, a person does not adhere to OUR beliefs and practices—you simply follow the Bible and the Bible only! That is the plea of the church of Christ. Remember the old slogan: No creed but Christ; No book but the Bible!
You see, it is truth that unites! It is truth that brings true biblical fellowship! This is the type of unity that we here at South Side Church of Christ are protecting (Ephesians 4).
When I consider things happening in the church of Christ, I have to wonder what happened to the plea to throw off all denominational names and creeds and be simply Christians. I personally came out of denominationalism—I have NO desire to ever go back. In fact, I would just love it if all those in our entire world would simply follow the Bible and the Bible only and be New Testament Christians!
In one way I can relate with what Pliny wrote in a letter to Trajan about the impact Christians had upon some of the places he visited. About 50 years after the death of Jesus, he wrote that Christians have “pervaded not merely the cities but the villages and country places, so that the temples were nearly deserted.” The Christians had been SO strong that the pagan temples were nearly closed!
Here is where I relate to Pliny: My desire and plea is that the churches of Christ can stand so solidly on the Bible that any denomination or church not following the New Testament plan would desert their teachings and simply become Christians! That is my prayer for Danville and Vermilion County, and our world!
Unity, yes, when based on truth!
The Bible Only makes Christians Only! http://www.restorationplea.com