Recently the “Cults” class at Covenant Christian High School, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, wrote responses to an article in the October 1995 Beacon Lights entitled “A Church United.”
A few are published here with a “thank you” to all the writers who spent time to write. It was greatly appreciated.
This article addresses a very interesting point. Because of all the movements for church unity, the point is also important.
Jeff does well in pointing out what the Church really is and what its purpose is. Jeff uses the picture of a growing tree to explain how Christ’s Church grows. He points out the unity of the Church is a spiritual unity. The Church of all ages is united in confession and in faith, not in a man-made organization.
Jeff does a good job of explaining that what the Holy Spirit reveals to the Church throughout history has always been the same. The Spirit is revealed in the same way to all of God’s people. There are no differences in the message given.
Jeff uses substantial proof from Scripture and the Belgic Confession to support his points. This is good.
I am surprised by the quote from The Banner. The Christian Reformed Church is sliding so far as to say unity in “love” is more important than unity in doctrine?!
I do have one question with the article. This question is regarding missions. Christ said in the Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel. I understand that the point of missions is not for unity of all beliefs. No mention is made, however, of missions to gain others to Christ.
This is a valuable article and I am glad I read it.
I read the article, “A Church United” by Jeffrey M. Kalsbeek. In this article, Mr. Kalsbeek tries to describe the modern movement in the modern day churches toward church unity. He begins by showing that true unity is not merely physical unity. True unity is unity with God in heaven. The church on earth is only an earthly manifestation of the heavenly church.
We must try to preserve the doctrines as laid out by Christ in His Word as best as we can. Even if doing so means separating ourselves from the church, as the PRC did with the CRC, or as the reformers did with the Roman Catholic Church. We must follow the true doctrine, even if the unity of the church is at stake. We must realize the primary purpose of the church is to preach true doctrine, and since uniting with other groups may cause our doctrines to be compromised, we must stay separate from other churches that differ from us in essential doctrines.
Mr. Kalsbeek points out that many churches argue the point of unity over the fact that we must be united to act effectively in mission work. Missions are a very important part of the duties of a Christian church, how else can God’s elect learn about Him? But we must remember that it only damages the church to spread the gospel if we are spreading false doctrines.
This article has many valuable points for the orthodox Christian to consider. An issue in many churches today is church unity. These churches want to overlook doctrinal differences and become one church in love.
The article is correct in explaining our Christian calling to seek peace as found in Matthew 5. However in our quest for peace, which goes hand- in-hand with unity, we may not ever compromise biblical truths. This would bring about a false church with false teachings.
The article also points out that those who seek to unify churches on earth overlook the fact that the Church (capital ‘C) is already united in Christ Jesus. This spiritual unity is eternal and stronger than earthly bonds. The Church is one Body of Christ with all the saints of the past, present, and future. This is comforting when we may think we are the only ones who humbly hold to the truth.
The article quotes another article in The Banner (3/6/95). That article says: …unity in love, if not always unity in doctrine, is crucial if the church is to fulfill its mission to proclaim the gospel. What a horrible thing to say! “to proclaim the gospel”? A gospel of compromise and heresy. This is no gospel at all but another false church teaching false doctrine. We must not ever allow Christ’s Most Holy Name to be dishonored.
It is extremely important that we never compromise doctrines. However this does not mean we must totally separate ourselves from other denominational churches. I know people from other churches, particularly at my place of work. In discussions with some of them religion does come up from time to time. I do not ignore the issue but enjoy discussing it. But some of the people I talk to say the difference doesn’t matter, we’re all going to heaven any way.
Debating in a loving but non-compromising way can and does strengthen one’s faith. I can testify to this from personal experience. Many churches do not make up The Church of Christ but instead God takes saints from many churches to make His Church this is where the unity really is.
Concerning the article, “A Church United”, I totally agree. I believe that our churches and our faith are not to be compromised so that we might unite with other beliefs. Some might say that this article suggests that only Protestant Reformed believers are saved. I truly did not see this article to be implying that. This article merely shows how very wrong it is to unite with other churches.
I believe that there are many reasons why we cannot unite with other churches. We’re not united with them and cannot be united with them because of doctrinal differences and life viewing differences. Those who want all churches to unite together, such as Promise Keepers, want us to show love and understanding for all views and faiths. As the writer noted, “this is not a calling to show love to people of different faiths only, but actually to show understanding for their beliefs, erroneous or not.” This article has given me a chance to think about and explain the error of groups like Promise Keepers and the error of a united front with those who believe differently and whose faith is not based on the Bible.