While Jesus prayed earnestly for unity among His followers (John 17:20–23), He added that such unity should be based on the truth (John 17:17). Jesus’ prayer was for His follower’s sanctification through His Father’s Word. Human ideas must be left alone. To lower this standard for the sake of unity would be compromise with evil. Christ called for unity but He does not call for us to unify on wrong practices and doctrines.
God outlines a sharp contrast between pure, elevating, ennobling truth and false, deceptive doctrines. The Lord calls sin by the right name “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).
Jesus’ prayer calls His church to actually have unity on:
-Teaching, “that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions” (1 Cor. 1:10),
-Thoughts, “that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 2:2; 4:2; Rom. 12:16),
-Belief, “Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Eph. 4:13; 1 Tim. 1:3, 20; 4:1, 6; 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2:17; Titus 1:9–11; Rom.16:17),
-Spiritual gifts, “There are diversities of gifts” (1 Cor. 12:4),
It is in this context that unity should be sought “that there should be no schism in the body” (1 Cor. 12:25).
Jesus prayed that His followers might be one; but Christians are not to sacrifice the truth in order to secure this oneness. Those that promote unity for just the sake of getting together often uphold human traditions and wisdom over doctrine pronouncing the latter as too restricting and old. These try to achieve unity through yielding to popular trendy ideas, by compromising with the world.
The apostolic church was ready to face persecution and even death to uphold the truths that Jesus taught them. They would not sacrifice their faith to obtain peace with the world. And the church’s history is stained by the blood of millions of martyrs who gave up their lives to uphold the purity of Bible.
Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.
In His service,