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Author Topic: Why our unity movement failed?  (Read 28916 times)

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Offline Bon Voyage

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #35 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 11:31:24 »
I'm not so sure our unity movement has failed.  It has not been perfect - there have been points of division.  If you look at the CoC from the 1906 division - there were around 150,000 of "us" left in the wake of that.  The church was 15 times larger in just 50 years.  And though there were issues that have divided the church, none were major splits.

Wait a minute. Though we might call the reasons for the divisions minor, I think that the only assessment of the situation in the 20th Century with this movement is that the Disciples of Christ, Churches of Christ, Independent Christian Churches, and all the flavors therein (one-cup, mutual edification, non-class, non-institutional, Boston Movement, liberal mainstream, conservative mainstream, and more coming) would be that there are indeed many major splits.

I would suggest that if there is 10% of anything, it would be 10% of the congregations who actually have something charitable to say about other congregations not of their flavor or appellation. In fact, I think that 10% is being quite generous.

First of all, it is debatable that the mainstream has split between liberal and conservative.  As far as your list of divisions, though they are many, they consist of only about 15% of those who call themselves Church of Christ.  And more coming???  Is it possible that you are a little over the top?

2ndly, I don't know where you live, but in N. Central Alabama, there are many CoCs of many flavors, and in my experience, at least 95% of the congregations act in good standing with each other.  I am sure it isn't this high in every place, but I wonder if the idea that our unity movement has failed isn't more about emotion than fact.

I thought this "Unity" movement started prior to 1906, and if it did, it failed.  Alexander Campbell started with his "unity" movement with division, and what he reaped, many have sown.

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #35 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 11:31:24 »

Offline charlie

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #36 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 11:46:14 »
I'm not so sure our unity movement has failed.  It has not been perfect - there have been points of division.  If you look at the CoC from the 1906 division - there were around 150,000 of "us" left in the wake of that.  The church was 15 times larger in just 50 years.  And though there were issues that have divided the church, none were major splits.

Wait a minute. Though we might call the reasons for the divisions minor, I think that the only assessment of the situation in the 20th Century with this movement is that the Disciples of Christ, Churches of Christ, Independent Christian Churches, and all the flavors therein (one-cup, mutual edification, non-class, non-institutional, Boston Movement, liberal mainstream, conservative mainstream, and more coming) would be that there are indeed many major splits.

I would suggest that if there is 10% of anything, it would be 10% of the congregations who actually have something charitable to say about other congregations not of their flavor or appellation. In fact, I think that 10% is being quite generous.

First of all, it is debatable that the mainstream has split between liberal and conservative.  As far as your list of divisions, though they are many, they consist of only about 15% of those who call themselves Church of Christ.  And more coming???  Is it possible that you are a little over the top?

2ndly, I don't know where you live, but in N. Central Alabama, there are many CoCs of many flavors, and in my experience, at least 95% of the congregations act in good standing with each other.  I am sure it isn't this high in every place, but I wonder if the idea that our unity movement has failed isn't more about emotion than fact.

I haven't explored the CofC geography in N Central Alabama, but speaking as one who has lived in N Florida, S Florida, and NW Georgia, I can say that, counting your part of the world, 75% of the areas that I have lived in or have heard of in the past three posts are comprised of congregations that are in vocal, public, and unapologetic condemnation about 90-95% of the other Churches of Christ in their particular area.

Does this sound familiar to anybody else on this board, or am I just unlucky?

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #36 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 11:46:14 »

Offline Howie26

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #37 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 11:47:00 »
Quote
I thought this "Unity" movement started prior to 1906, and if it did, it failed.  Alexander Campbell started with his "unity" movement with division, and what he reaped, many have sown.

The split of 1906 was really more of a splinter, depending on your point of view.  Nearly 9 of 10 of those in the movement had no problem with using instrumental music in worship.  It was more of an issue of the slim minority (opposing instruments) trying to impose their will on the majority.   This idea that it was a big league split, I think, was the propaganda spread by the non-instrumentalists.

Offline charlie

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #38 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 11:59:59 »
Quote
I thought this "Unity" movement started prior to 1906, and if it did, it failed.  Alexander Campbell started with his "unity" movement with division, and what he reaped, many have sown.

The split of 1906 was really more of a splinter, depending on your point of view.  Nearly 9 of 10 of those in the movement had no problem with using instrumental music in worship.  It was more of an issue of the slim minority (opposing instruments) trying to impose their will on the majority.   This idea that it was a big league split, I think, was the propaganda spread by the non-instrumentalists.

I see. I think I am talking about congregations and you are talking about individuals. I think I see your point, Howie. And for my part, not only do I hope you are correct, but I think you may be. I hope you see mine as well.

Sadly, when a minority of one congregation leads the entire congregation to condemn another entire group, it is not long before that entire congregation is identifying itself as one that condemns what its leaders condemn. A generation or two at most. You can see how it happened among the most notable speakers and writers of the movement as a whole. Campbell and Stone, while highly critical of the practices of others, still considered them brethren. While the next generation--Libscomb and Harding, et al.--were much more condemning of the individuals and groups with which they differed. By the time you got to the likes of Foy Wallace, our branch of this movement became so entrenched in condemnation and judgment, that it became our most self-defining feature. Even today, thousands (and not just preacher and "leaders")will say to all who will hear, that we alone are not a denomination but the one true church. And by "we" they intend to mean this flavor of this name alone, and none other.

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #38 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 11:59:59 »

Offline Howie26

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #39 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 15:28:13 »
Yes, yes, charlie, you're right.  It's what false teachers do - form this elite club and convince their hearers to follow their directives by saying what they're followers' "itching ears want to hear," (to quote the KJV).  I do not deny that we've got wrong thinking to overcome in the CoC.  Our talk about unity needs to be as passionate as our talk about sound doctrine.  And our talk about sound doctrine needs to be about what God has revealed and not we want to impose.  And we need to point people to Christ instead of to ourselves.  It goes on and on.

I think the bottom line is that our unity movement has failed when decidedly quit talking about it and work ing on it.

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #39 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 15:28:13 »



marc

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #40 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 16:54:48 »
I'm not setting aside anything except my pride.  Scriptures never say that knowledge of procedures is the basis for unity.  The unity of the Spirit is keptin the bond of peace, not the bond of doctrinal correctness.

To be blunt, the "sacrifice truth" is a bit of a dodge.  None of us are ever going to agree 100% on anything so, using this view, we will always be "sacrificing truth" if we have unity even with one other person.

But that's not what we're doing.  We're not sacrificing truth; we're adknowledging that we're unified by a greater Truth.

Besides, I will admit that the other guy may have a handle on some truth that I have not yet grasped. 

If we're going to Biblical, we need to be Biblical about what creates and keeps unity.

You missed my point.

I am not saying that full agreement on all doctrine is how unity is arrived.  I am saying that if one is not even truly saved then he cannot be considered in unity with Christ and with those who are in Christ.

If two people cannot agree on what makes a Christian, then they cannot in the least consider each other saved and in unity.

No, believe me, I got your point.  I used to live by your point. But I now disagree with it.  The How is not Biblically the point, yet we focus in so tightly that to us, it's all there is. 

What makes a Christian isn't the how; it's the Who.   And that ain't just a bumper sticker slogan!

Offline Johnb

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #41 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 19:20:07 »
Howie

I really don't understand the logic.  The Pentecostal movement has grown many times over since 1906 as has the Mormons and many others.  They nor the CoC has united anything and have had many divisions themselves.  I think it was Charlie that pointed out most of these group won't even recognize the others as brothers.  The growth came from converting our children and stealing sheep from other denominations.  Later Johnb

Offline soterion

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #42 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 20:20:28 »

No, believe me, I got your point.  I used to live by your point. But I now disagree with it.  The How is not Biblically the point, yet we focus in so tightly that to us, it's all there is. 

What makes a Christian isn't the how; it's the Who.   And that ain't just a bumper sticker slogan!

In Acts 2 the people asked what they must do.  Peter responded with the Who and the How.  What Peter taught was from the Who and it was a definite How.

They both go together.  The Who gave the How in the Great Commission- He didn't just say, "Trust in Me".  You can't reject the How as being unnecessary and still claim to be abiding in the Who who gave it.

What makes a Christian is being cleansed by the blood of Christ by the grace of God through faith in Him.  The How tells us how one is cleansed by the blood and forgiven.  It cannot be ignored as unnecessary for the sake of "unity".

marc

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #43 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 20:41:07 »
It was never the focus.  Baptism was never the center of anything--it was a response, a conforming to the Death, Burial and Ressurection of Christ.  We don't simply reject the unimmersed; we reject those who have been immersed without faith in the saving power of immersion--not faith in Christ.  We are never taught that our faith is to be in immersion--it is always in the DBR, in the saving work of Christ.

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #44 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 21:13:42 »
Reading these last few posts, it is quite revealing how unity could never be realized.
Unfortunately there was never agreement on "the essentials" to begin with based on the inability to articulate exactly what they are.  So, "the essentials" became defined by many, many groups and many, many congregations drifting apart from one another.  Who could even imagine much of any agreement at all today in the unity movement on "the essentials".

Offline Bon Voyage

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #45 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 21:52:03 »
If you preach Christ, and Him crucified and risen again, "it" will come.

"it" meaning baptism.

Offline soterion

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #46 on: Tue Nov 13, 2007 - 23:03:14 »
It was never the focus.  Baptism was never the center of anything--it was a response, a conforming to the Death, Burial and Ressurection of Christ.  We don't simply reject the unimmersed; we reject those who have been immersed without faith in the saving power of immersion--not faith in Christ.  We are never taught that our faith is to be in immersion--it is always in the DBR, in the saving work of Christ.

I wholeheartedly agree that Christ is the center, not man's response.  However, without the response a person is still not saved.

Offline Johnb

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #47 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 06:27:26 »
The original dream of the unity movement was not to bring everyone together in one nondenominational church but rather to overcome the sectarian spirit that said only my group are Christians.  To some degree that part has been successful.  However, IMO as evidenced by some of the comments here we became what we rebelled against.  Several parts of the RM believe only those who believe like them will be saved.  That is the sectarian spirit that Campbells and others fought against.  Determining what acts or works make one a Christian is the sectarian spirit!  That is why our unity movement failed. There are always those who meet someone who claims to be a child of God and get out their measuring stick and say oh no you can't be a Christian you haven't done A,B or C.  Later Johnb

Offline soterion

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #48 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 07:01:51 »
Determining what acts or works make one a Christian is the sectarian spirit!

Is determining what the Bible says about what makes one a Christian, and seeking for others to meet God's word about it, the sectarian spirit?

I still see most on here willing to give up the truth on this issue, regardless of what that truth is, for the sake of a false unity.

Offline segell

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #49 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 07:02:55 »


I wholeheartedly agree that Christ is the center, not man's response.  However, without the response a person is still not saved.

What is the definition of response?  And where does the power to respond come from? 

With respect, I still see the focus of salvation being shifted from Christ Jesus and God's grace revealed on the cross to man and what man does.  The problem with that is entire teachings become centered upon what a man must do to be saved and what man must do to keep saved.  And at that point, teachings become like every other religion in the world.  There is no difference.  Man becomes the focus.

What makes Christianity true and the only Way is Jesus.  Period.  When Jesus and Him crucified is preached, then we can rest that God will take His Word and pierce hearts with His Truth.  God does the saving and when He does Christ is  embraced.  People will be saved and people will cry out, "What shall we do?"  And then and only then does the life of an obedient Christian begin to take shape.  It doesn't begin after we do something.  Then salvation is never by grace.  

Lastly, I believe the Scriptures point to Christ and Him alone for our salvation.  I do not believe God would make salvation contingent upon something we do and must continue to do - something apart from His Son.  Salvation is coningent only upon what God does and what He continues to do in the lives of His people.  And that's why salvation is assured and why God is completely trustworthy. To His praise and to His glory.

Please teach Christ Jesus and Him crucified and what He has done to save us.  The focus of salvation should never, ever switch onto us.  

Offline segell

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #50 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 07:08:51 »


I still see most on here willing to give up the truth on this issue, regardless of what that truth is, for the sake of a false unity.

Unity is only in Christ Jesus.  Never, ever in what man must do.  That's why unity fails.  The focus becomes misdirected upon man.

Another point I think is worth considering:  Any movement that has unity as it's center is doomed.  While it may perhaps be a noble thought, it ends up being a movement of compliance.  And compliance is ultimately restrictive bringing forth the minimum effort in order to meet the requirement of compliance.  God wants His people absolutely free and unencumbered with such man focussed efforts.  A lover and follower of Christ Jesus is united with another lover and follower of Christ.  It is in Jesus, not in ourselves.

Offline soterion

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #51 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 07:16:50 »


I wholeheartedly agree that Christ is the center, not man's response.  However, without the response a person is still not saved.

What is the definition of response?  And where does the power to respond come from? 

With respect, I still see the focus of salvation being shifted from Christ Jesus and God's grace revealed on the cross to man and what man does.  The problem with that is entire teachings become centered upon what a man must do to be saved and what man must do to keep saved.  And at that point, teachings become like every other religion in the world.  There is no difference.  Man becomes the focus.

What makes Christianity true and the only Way is Jesus.  Period.  When Jesus and Him crucified is preached, then we can rest that God will take His Word and pierce hearts with His Truth.  God does the saving and when He does Christ is  embraced.  People will be saved and people will cry out, "What shall we do?"  And then and only then does the life of an obedient Christian begin to take shape.  It doesn't begin after we do something.  Then salvation is never by grace. 

Lastly, I believe the Scriptures point to Christ and Him alone for our salvation.  I do not believe God would make salvation contingent upon something we do and must continue to do - something apart from His Son.  Salvation is coningent only upon what God does and what He continues to do in the lives of His people.  And that's why salvation is assured and why God is completely trustworthy. To His praise and to His glory.

Please teach Christ Jesus and Him crucified and what He has done to save us.  The focus of salvation should never, ever switch onto us. 

I am not going to ignore the Scriptures that teach that man must make a free will response to the offering of salvation from God.

Nobody here is minimizing God's grace and love by saying man has to respond to be saved.  If it was not for the love of God and the grace that sent Jesus to die for us, we would zero hope of salvation, no matter what we may do to seek it.  However, He did send Jesus, salvation is all about Him and His will for man, and out of His mouth is still found the response man must make toward Him.  Those who ignore His words on this or say that we do not have to really obey Him are themselves disobeying Him.

Offline soterion

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #52 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 07:21:43 »
Another point I think is worth considering:  Any movement that has unity as it's center is doomed.  While it may perhaps be a noble thought, it ends up being a movement of compliance.  And compliance is ultimately restrictive bringing forth the minimum effort in order to meet the requirement of compliance.  God wants His people absolutely free and unencumbered with such man focussed efforts.  A lover and follower of Christ Jesus is united with another lover and follower of Christ.  It is in Jesus, not in ourselves.

John 17:20-21.
"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me."

1 John 1:6-7.
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 Corinthians 1:10-13.
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 

For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.  What I mean is that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Cephas," or "I follow Christ."  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Offline Johnb

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #53 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 07:26:47 »
Soterion

So you are saying that a person has to obey certain commands in the NT before you will call them brother?  Later Johnb

Offline soterion

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #54 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 07:52:03 »
Soterion

So you are saying that a person has to obey certain commands in the NT before you will call them brother?  Later Johnb

I am saying that a person must obey what Jesus says must be done to be saved.  Those who have done so are saved and their unity together is based on their unity with Christ.  Those who have not done so are not in Christ and have no unity with those in the body of Christ.

da525382

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #55 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 08:04:02 »
It is God who chooses us first.  Our free choice to choose is preceeded by this reality and our free choice is thereby at the same time pre-ordained, in fact all of our responses to the gospel, our ability to come to Him, are then given to us by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is our choosing God after he has first chosen us and empowered us to choose Him through which our responses in faith, in repentance, in obedience, etc. occur in our lives.

Who ever prays the following:  "Oh, God, please I hope and pray Johnny will choose you so that you can then choose him"......?????   No, we instead pray: "God, I pray that you open the mind and heart of Johnny SO THAT he will choose you".   

The Christian community simply has different views of how we are saved via the same scripture and that will never change.  Beyond that, it is the love of God that we are to live out amongst ourselves, and unfortunately, few get beyond the milk, get beyond first base, get beyond dividing over soteriology.  That's just the way it is and has always been.   At some point, the realization must come that unity is not from us, it is from the Holy Spirit.

« Last Edit: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 11:37:15 by da525382 »

Offline janine

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #56 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 08:19:22 »
I think y'all need to define "unity".

Is it "a group of different people from different backgrounds deciding to ignore problems and differences to pull together for some noble common goal"?

Is it "the invisible interconnected quality, only detectable by Fruit Inspectors, of all the people who are in Christ, enrobed with Christ, immersed into Christ, attached to Christ, 'saved', 'washed in the blood of the Lamb'"?

I tell you what -- if I meet of a Sunday with a group of people who all claim to have entered the Kingdom via the One Way to the Father, having understood the same vital components of that process the same as I do --

Among them necessity for a repentant attitude, necessity for an unashamed proclamation of Jesus as the Christ, necessity for identification with His death-burial-resurrection-life in immersion --

I say, if I meet of a Sunday with people around me in the pews who, as far as I know, are all in a righteous, saved, living relationship with Jesus Christ --

That is still only as far as I know.

My attitude will not be one of bashing people about the head and shoulders with a Shibboleth.

If people want to serve and grow and study and worship with me, lovely.  If I don't think they understand what they need to understand, I will tell them.  I will also be glad to hear anything they think they want to teach me.  But I won't want anything to do with their preachments,  if I perceive them as being exclusivist-for-the-sake-of-exclusivity.  Why would I think they would listen to me, to what I really really really want them to know for the sake of their souls -- and mine -- if we have no ongoing relationship between us?

It is not a common thing, in this time and place where I live, to be able to step up on a box in a marketplace and simply tell people about the Christ.  Not that you shouldn't if you have the context available to you.  It's just that most of the time, in my life here and now, I have a much better chance for meaningful communication if I go find some common ground to stand on while we talk.

Offline segell

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #57 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 08:38:53 »
Another point I think is worth considering:  Any movement that has unity as it's center is doomed.  While it may perhaps be a noble thought, it ends up being a movement of compliance.  And compliance is ultimately restrictive bringing forth the minimum effort in order to meet the requirement of compliance.  God wants His people absolutely free and unencumbered with such man focussed efforts.  A lover and follower of Christ Jesus is united with another lover and follower of Christ.  It is in Jesus, not in ourselves.

John 17:20-21.
"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me."

1 John 1:6-7.
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 Corinthians 1:10-13.
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 

For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.  What I mean is that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Cephas," or "I follow Christ."  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?


Those verses go to our hearts, in my view.  Unity is not only important - it is vital.  For what?  The glory of God and the reputation of the Lord Jesus.  Unity isn't found in the pursuit of unity.  It is found in the pursuit of our King and Lord Jesus.  Again, a movement for the purpose of unity has a misplaced focus.  Unity for the sake of the Lord Jesus is worthy.  Does that make any sense?  That way, our Lord remains our purpose, not what we do.  Paul exhorted people not to focus on man.  Here's the question - are we uniting in a Person or in how we do things?

Just look at the unity movement that is the subject of this thread?  How many divisions are there in that so-called movement?  I mean there is division in some over the manner of taking the Lord's Supper!!  Or over instrumental music!!  Or over the exact method of baptism!!  Or over the roles of women in the church!! 

The point is there can never be unity with what man does as the focus.  But, I can be unified with a person who declares Jesus as Lord, who views the purpose of baptism differently than I, who views the role of women differently than I, or who is multi-cup or one cup.  Unity is in Christ.  The heart wrenching truth of the matter is that there are those who deny unity with other followers of Christ over stuff they declare as central as Christ Himself.  And they do so in the so-called pursuit of unity!!  Rather, I think it is in the pursuit of exclusivity because their collective eyes are not unwaveringly focussed upon the Cross of Christ but on the acts of man.

Offline Sherman Nobles

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #58 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 09:16:59 »
Soterion,

Concerning the necessity of an outward response to an inward faith and repentance, are you saying that any response is appropriate, or specifically that one must be water baptized to be saved?  Also, do you believe that one must be water baptized according to some specific formula -- full immersion, in the name of Jesus or in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and specifically to be saved or is just obedience ok?

Also, how do you explain the example of Cornelius and his household?  When Peter recounts the story to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, he notes that an angel appeared to Cornelius and said for them to send for Peter who would bring them a message through which Cornelius and his household would be "saved" (Acts 11.14).  And then as Peter spoke, Cornelius and his household received the gift of the Holy Spirit.  

Cornelius and his household receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit was then understood as them being accepted by God and God granting them eternal life because of their faith and repentance (11.15-18).  And of course, when Peter was preaching to them he said that forgiveness of sins was connected with faith in Christ (10.43).  When they heard this message, they apparently believed, received the forgiveness of sins, were accepted by God, saved, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Of course, they were water baptized based upon their salvation, but it was after they were saved and had received the gift of the Holy Spirit.  So apparently salvation is dependent upon faith and repentance and not some specific outward response, even water baptism.  

Of course, some discount this scripture saying that it was a "special" situation to reveal that the Gentiles were acceptable to God and even added to the community of faith, the church, without having to become Jewish.  God certainly did use this event to do that, but I believe that it also reveals that salvation, being born of the Spirit, comes through faith and repentance before any outward expression of faith; whether it be repeating the sinner's prayer, confession of one's faith, water baptism, or even speaking in tongues like Cornelius did.  So, salvation is by grace through faith and faith is not even from ourselves, but is a gift from God!

Unity then is based on recognizing as brothers and sisters in Christ those who have faith in Jesus Christ.

Offline Howie26

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #59 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 09:22:57 »
segell,

I'm not sure I am understanding you correctly, so I'll take a stab at this.  I have a friend who goes out into the woods in the early morning, looks up at the trees, breathes in the air, and grunts and sighs - and that is what he considers to be the sum of his relationship with God, just taking God in through nature.  Are you saying that if I refused to call him a brother in Christ, I am being focusing too much on what a person must do to be saved?

Offline segell

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #60 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 09:24:36 »


I am not going to ignore the Scriptures that teach that man must make a free will response to the offering of salvation from God.

Nobody here is minimizing God's grace and love by saying man has to respond to be saved.  If it was not for the love of God and the grace that sent Jesus to die for us, we would zero hope of salvation, no matter what we may do to seek it.  However, He did send Jesus, salvation is all about Him and His will for man, and out of His mouth is still found the response man must make toward Him.  Those who ignore His words on this or say that we do not have to really obey Him are themselves disobeying Him.

Quote
I am not going to ignore the Scriptures that teach that man must make a free will response to the offering of salvation from God.

Well, we depart a bit here.  I think that our response to God actually comes from Him piercing our hearts with His Truth.  It's that piercing that leads to our response.  The problem I have with the so-called free-will teaching is that ultimately it doesn't end but keeps teaching that we need to respond over and over and over again or else we will lose our salvation.  And where does the focus shift from (Christ) and onto (ourselves)?

That leads to this:

Quote
Nobody here is minimizing God's grace and love by saying man has to respond to be saved.

With sincere respect, Soterion, I believe that is exactly what is happening.  God's grace does become less and man's response even more.  That is the danger of the teaching, in my view.  I believe we have zero chance of salvation even with Christ's life, death and resurrection without God's mercy and grace.  His grace isn't only about Jesus' death and resurrection it is much more than that even.  Jesus didn't die so that we have a "chance" at salvation.  Doesn't the Word pierce the hearts of those who are saved?  The Word is Christ.  The Word is the Spirit of Christ.  God's grace includes the work of His Spirit in the lives of those who will be saved.  Who gets the credit for our ability to place faith in Jesus?  Us?  By our so called free will?  Who has the power to transform hearts and lives?  Us? By our so called free will?


Finally,

Quote
Those who ignore His words on this or say that we do not have to really obey Him are themselves disobeying Him.

What follower of Christ would do or teach such a thing?  Every Christian that I know personally, or have authored books or have written on this board all agree in this one thing:  Christians are called to obedience.  Note:  Christians are called to obedience.  They are already saved!  Obedience for salvation sake is a man focussed teaching and in my view leads down a very steep and slippery slope toward a self-reliant obedience and focus upon ourselves.  Salvation for the purpose of obedience in order to bring glory to God and to join in the advancement of His Kingdom keeps focus squarely upon Whom our hearts and minds must be centered - Jesus Christ.  

Did I communicate the difference adequately?  I hope so.

Steve

Offline janine

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #61 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 09:26:25 »
How many of you who dispense with a literal immersion in water as a vital, important, necessary part of the whole package that is being saved -- how many of you who would gladly accept as saved and Christ's, no worries, anyone who did not think he needed to be baptized --

How many of you were immersed in water?  And why or why not?

Offline Brian Kelley

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #62 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 09:29:25 »
Soterion,

Concerning the necessity of an outward response to an inward faith and repentance, are you saying that any response is appropriate, or specifically that one must be water baptized to be saved?  Also, do you believe that one must be water baptized according to some specific formula -- full immersion, in the name of Jesus or in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and specifically to be saved or is just obedience ok?

Also, how do you explain the example of Cornelius and his household?  When Peter recounts the story to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, he notes that an angel appeared to Cornelius and said for them to send for Peter who would bring them a message through which Cornelius and his household would be "saved" (Acts 11.14).  And then as Peter spoke, Cornelius and his household received the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Cornelius and his household receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit was then understood as them being accepted by God and God granting them eternal life because of their faith and repentance (11.15-18).  And of course, when Peter was preaching to them he said that forgiveness of sins was connected with faith in Christ (10.43).  When they heard this message, they apparently believed, received the forgiveness of sins, were accepted by God, saved, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Of course, they were water baptized based upon their salvation, but it was after they were saved and had received the gift of the Holy Spirit.  So apparently salvation is dependent upon faith and repentance and not some specific outward response, even water baptism. 

Of course, some discount this scripture saying that it was a "special" situation to reveal that the Gentiles were acceptable to God and even added to the community of faith, the church, without having to become Jewish.  God certainly did use this event to do that, but I believe that it also reveals that salvation, being born of the Spirit, comes through faith and repentance before any outward expression of faith; whether it be repeating the sinner's prayer, confession of one's faith, water baptism, or even speaking in tongues like Cornelius did.  So, salvation is by grace through faith and faith is not even from ourselves, but is a gift from God!

Unity then is based on recognizing as brothers and sisters in Christ those who have faith in Jesus Christ.

I agree, Sherman.  I don't believe God makes random exceptions, or else there's a whole lot of other things we need to be worrying about.  If Cornelius, his family, and the thief on the cross can be made new in Christ before (or without) baptism, and these cannot be exceptions, we must accept this as God's truth, and stop letting Acts 2:38 stand outside of context and letting it divide the body of Christ.

Offline segell

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #63 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 09:30:40 »
segell,

I'm not sure I am understanding you correctly, so I'll take a stab at this.  I have a friend who goes out into the woods in the early morning, looks up at the trees, breathes in the air, and grunts and sighs - and that is what he considers to be the sum of his relationship with God, just taking God in through nature.  Are you saying that if I refused to call him a brother in Christ, I am being focusing too much on what a person must do to be saved?


Well, in your example, I do not see your friend proclaiming Jesus as Lord.  Our unity is found in Christ Jesus.  How can he be a brother in Christ if he doesn't declare Him as Lord?  However, if your friend would go out into the wilderness (remind you of anyone) and proclaim Jesus as Lord and wish to worship Him in the midst of the beauty and creation of God, I could certainly embrace him as a brother.  I mean, I wouldn't want to be the one who would reject someone just because they did something a bit differently than I and yet loved the Lord Jesus as deeply or even more deeply than I.  I think of my brothers and sisters in various tribes and places where that kind of worship actually does go on.  But remember, the center of this all is Jesus.  He must be there.

Does that help?

Offline Johnb

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #64 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 09:31:02 »
Sherman said
Unity then is based on recognizing as brothers and sisters in Christ those who have faith in Jesus Christ

Strip away all the 19th century wordiness and jargon and that is what our unity movement was founded on.  Thomas Campbell got in trouble for offering the LS to a different brand of Christian.  He and others simply wanted Christians to own one another and rid themselves of the sectarian spirit.

Offline Johnb

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #65 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 09:34:34 »
Being able to know the mind of God and the mind of all men to the point I can determine who is and who is not a child of God.  Hum.  Must be a very special gift of knowledge.   ::bowing:: ::bowing::  Later Johnb 

Offline segell

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #66 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 09:37:33 »
How many of you who dispense with a literal immersion in water as a vital, important, necessary part of the whole package that is being saved -- how many of you who would gladly accept as saved and Christ's, no worries, anyone who did not think he needed to be baptized --

How many of you were immersed in water?  And why or why not?

I dispense with the focus on the exact and "proper" method of baptism.  However, I was immersed and I believe that is the form of baptism that I see reflected in Scripture.  Nonetheless, there are probably over 50 (I read somewhere that there are many and I know it to be over 50) different modes and takes on baptism in Christendom.  So I don't focus on baptism as the focus of unity or a declaration of a person's relationship with Christ.  I focus on the declaration of the person and where that person's treasure lies.  If it is in Christ Jesus, I embrace him.  By the way, it is not in my purview to declare one saved or not saved nor do I believe it is anyone here on earth.  And when we begin to sort out those who are, in our views, saved or not dependent upon how they are baptized, then I think there is a deep and glaring problem.

Offline Howie26

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #67 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 09:57:07 »
Quote
So, salvation is by grace through faith and faith is not even from ourselves, but is a gift from God!

Sherman,

I believe you are referring to Ephesians 2:8 here.  And if I understand that verse correctly, it is salvation that is a gift from God, not faith.  Faith is from ourselves (Genesis 15:1-6, Hebrews 11:6).

Offline Lee Freeman

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #68 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 10:42:56 »
Sherman said
Unity then is based on recognizing as brothers and sisters in Christ those who have faith in Jesus Christ

Strip away all the 19th century wordiness and jargon and that is what our unity movement was founded on.  Thomas Campbell got in trouble for offering the LS to a different brand of Christian.  He and others simply wanted Christians to own one another and rid themselves of the sectarian spirit.

That sums up Campbell's theology pretty well. Thomas was convinced that the mainstream Protestant denominations shared more beliefs in common than not. He believed that where they differed was chiefly in "matters of which the kingdom of heaven does not consist. In other words, incidental, peripheral doctrines. Robert Richardson, A. Campbell's biographer, defined the movement as "a generalization of Christianity." It looked for the common ground on essential doctrines of the faith that all orthodox denominations shared in common. Both father and son were more concerned with the evils of sectarianism than with ensuring doctrinal orthodoxy in every particular. I'm convinced that were either the Campbells or Stone to come back today their views would be considered too "liberal" by many to allow them to preach or teach their views. Sadly I'm not sure they'd recognize their own movement divided as it is into three main factions and a dozen smaller, splinter groups.

Pax vobiscum.


Offline Johnb

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Re: Why our unity movement failed?
« Reply #69 on: Wed Nov 14, 2007 - 10:52:36 »
I wish they could come back I would like to have a discussion with them.  If I could talk with just one I think it would be Stone.  Later Johnb

 

     
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