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Summer Lecture Series July 8, 2003 Tom Roberts PowerPoint Presentation
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Summer Lecture Series July 8, 2003 Tom Roberts

Summer Lecture Series July 8, 2003 Tom Roberts

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Summer Lecture Series July 8, 2003 Tom Roberts

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  1. South Livingston church of Christ Summer Lecture Series July 8, 2003 Tom Roberts UNITY OF THE SPIRIT or Unity-in-Diversity

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

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

  4. 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

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

  6. 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 “ 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.” 1 Cor 12:13

  7. 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

  8. “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: 10-11 • Man cannot change parameters • To limit unity when God extends • To extend unity when God denies

  9. “Unity of the Spirit” is An Objective Relationship Rom 14:4 “To his own Master he stands or falls” 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

  10. 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

  11. Man Cannot Limit God’sFellowship 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

  12. 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

  13. 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?

  14. 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?

  15. 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 Unity of the Spirit Is the same as

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

  17. 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

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

  22. As A Single Christian - Acts 8:38 • 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

  23. In A Local Congregation - Phil 1:1 • 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

  24. In the Brotherhood -(still Unity of the Spirit) Heb 12:23 • 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

  25. 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 • Brotherhood recognition of soundness or apostasy • “Them” or “us” 1 Jn 2:19 • Reputation 1 Thes 1:6-7 • Exchange of teaching Col 4:16 • Testing the spirits 1 Jn 4:1

  26. 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!

  27. 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. 71-72)

  28. 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

  29. 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

  30. 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. 42-46). 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. 42-46).

  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. 42-46).

  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. 42-46).

  34. 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, “Gracemail” http://www.edwardfudge.com/home.html) Romans 14

  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, “Gracemail” http://www.edwardfudge.com/home.html) Romans 14 • Compare Paul:Eph 3:4; Jesus: Jn 8:32

  36. 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

  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 “ 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 if ‘for’ or ‘because of’ remission of sins” (Carrol Osburn, The Peaceable Kingdom, 1993, pp 90-91) “What Diff- erence Does It Make?”

  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 if ‘for’ or ‘because of’ remission of sins” (Carrol Osburn, The Peaceable Kingdom, 1993, pp 90-91) “What Diff- erence 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 if ‘for’ or ‘because of’ remission of sins” (Carrol Osburn, The Peaceable Kingdom, 1993, pp 90-91) “What Diff- erence 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 if ‘for’ or ‘because of’ remission of sins”(Carrol Osburn, The Peaceable Kingdom, 1993, pp 90-91) “What Diff- erence Does It Make?”

  43. 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 Diff- erence Does It Make?”

  44. “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

  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 What doctrine can we be wrong about? Worship? Work? Organization? Jesus?

  46. “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

  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 • Compare Acts 4:32; 1 Cor 1:10; 4:17

  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) Brethren Closer To Home

  49. 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

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