Advocating Against Unity

June 16, 2008

Apparently the Gospel Advocate is advocating against Christians coming to Nashville this summer to talk about unity.

I do not subscribe to the GA and I am not aware of a place to read the alleged article online. But I’m concerned enough about the need for unity that I have devoted my blog to the subject. So I am naturally concerned about published efforts to keep people from meeting to make progress toward unity.

I cannot comment directly on the article since I have not seen it. But I will comment on the following quote from Jay’s blog:

[T]he Gospel Advocate does not support or endorse the ecumenical meeting featuring both men and women speakers, instrumental worship, and other forms of apostasy.

It’s well known by long time readers of my blog that I do not believe the opposition to instrumental music is justifiable from scripture. Yet I do believe that the scriptures place limits on the role of women, including that women are prohibited from addressing the church in the general assembly. So someone might wonder what I think of the Nashville assembly, where proceedings will not necessarily always conform to my convictions.

I’ve blogged on this topic before. I believe there are some core issues on which Chrisitans must agree. Those issues involve the basic gospel facts about Jesus, including repentance, forgiveness of sins, and submission to Jesus as Lord. Things like the role of women, instrumental music, and the like are not core gospel issues. We obviously do have different views on those subjects, but those issues must not separate Christians. We should accept one another based on the core gospel.

Although I have strong convictions against women preaching to a mixed audience, I do not believe I would be sinning if I attended an assembly where that occurred. Similarly, I don’t believe someone with convictions against instrumental music would be in sin if they attended an instrumental service. The woman who preaches, or the one playing the instrument, would be the one in sin, if anyone. But for me, attending such a service, I would be obligated by Romans 14:22 to keep my objections to myself. Unity among Christians is a higher principle.

Perhaps the GA is concerned that people sharing their convictions on such subjects might be exposed to an alternate point of view, and might be influenced to change their convictions. Perhaps therefore they seek to prevent that influence by urging people not to meet to talk about unity. Perhaps instead, they should listen to Jesus’ prayer for unity, and to Paul’s admonition to make every effort. Perhaps they need to return to what is most important.

Everyone whom God has adopted as a son is my brother. No man can change that. May God bless every effort to remove the walls that men have built to divide His children.

One comment

  1. I think this is so sad.We need to answer the prayer of Jesus in John 17. We should strive for unity. I don’t see who they can call what they are doing scriptural. It is ignorance and totally unscriptural. God help those who have a heart of pride and think they are the only ones saved see the greatness of your grace. We cannot box God in and limit his grace. We cannot fathom the love and grace that God has for man. I have leanrned since my illness that the Kingdom includes and is bigger than we can comprehend. It is so wonderful. I am praying for unity everyda. I pray that this meeting in Nashville will be sucessful. Thank you Alan for your passion and commitment to Christian Unity.

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