We Can Unite In Truth
The pure word of God unites men. Jesus prayed for this unity (Jn. 17:20-23). The first Christians practiced it (Acts 2:38-42). They were of “one accord” and “one heart and of one soul” (Acts 2:46; 4:32).
The will of God for men has not changed since the first century. It was fully revealed and providentially preserved through the centuries (2 Pet. 1:3; Jude 3; 1 Pet. 1:22-25). If men of the first century were united in truth, the same can happen today. The way to do this is by returning to the gospel alone. All traditions and doctrines of men must be cast aside (Matt. 15:7-14). Anything that does not have positive divine authority must be forsaken, no matter how precious or long practiced.
In spite of this truth, people want to believe God approves of all religious beliefs and practices, at least if it is among “believers.”
The Impossibility of God’s Universal Approval
Various religions have diverse doctrines and practices. The things Jews believe and practice contradict what Muslims believe and practice. Hindus practice things that are in sharp contrast with Buddhists.
Among those who claim to be Christians, there is an endless assortment of beliefs and practices—an overwhelming disunity among “believers.” It is not possible that God approves of all these at the same time, or else He is a hypocrite.
If a man claimed to be a Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian, he would essentially stand for everything, which means he would stand for nothing. He would not have the respect of any group.
The same thing is true in regard to denominations. If a man were a member of several denominations, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Pentecostal, he would be a hypocrite. Would this not also apply to God?
There Is One Consistent Standard of Truth
God has one standard of truth, His word (Jn. 17:17). He revealed it in such a way that man can understand it and be set free from sin (Eph. 5:3-5; Jn. 8:32). He did not reveal the gospel so as to stump man and cause confusion (1 Cor. 2:10-13; 14:33). He revealed it to save men—all in the same way (Rom. 1:16).
Consider this: God does not teach two different points on a subject. He does not teach that babies should be baptized and babies should not be baptized. He teaches that penitent believers are subjects of baptism, not babies (Acts 2:38; 8:36-38). If men understand God’s teaching on this, they necessarily understand it alike. The same is true for any other biblical subject; if you understand the truth and I understand the truth, then we understand God’s will alike.
When men hold contradictory views, it is not God’s fault, but man’s. God made His word as it is and man as he is. He made His word for man to understand, believe, and follow. So, the confusion and division is the result of man – or more to the point, man following Satan’s deception.
Jesus Demands Unity
Again, we return to the Lord’s prayer in John 17. Referring to all who would believe what the apostles taught, Jesus said, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (Jn. 17:20, 21). To believe, practice, and support divisions – let alone celebrate them – is totally contrary to the will of Christ.
Those who persist in their own will and way, creating confusion and division, will lose their soul (Matt. 7:21-23). Those who stand united in truth will honor God and help advance His kingdom (Jn. 17:21-23).
– Steven F. Deaton