What Price Unity?
Some very clear statements are made in Scripture about unity.
That is, the kind of unity which conforms to the New Testament
definition. Even as few as two or three believers UNITED together
in the true faith are said to be able to secure anything that
they shall ask.
Jesus enjoyed unity among His disciples as the most important
single factor in their witness of Him to the world. Complete
accord for a time among the early Church believers bears witness
to this, by the manner in which they "turned the world
Unity even in rebellion against God seemed to pose a threat
that called for drastic counter measures. "And the Lord
said, Indeed the people are one and they all have one language,
and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they purpose
to do will be withheld from them". Gen 11:6 NKJ.
Turning to nature, the illustrations of the power of unity
are profuse. Even the atoms and molecules of matter must harmonize
and unify together according to fixed law. But, the human
body, apt illustration of the Church that it is, best sets
forth the outworking of true unity.
And this unity, in a healthy body, is affected by submission,
the submission of every part of the body to its head. But,
it must be observed that the head alone, without joints, tendons,
nerves or muscles, would be utterly helpless. So, submission
to our head, Christ, means submission to the various "connective"
ministries that He has set in His body, the Church, to carry
out His directions.
To whom, then, shall we submit ourselves? The answer is
clearly found in Heb 13:7 and in Eph 4:11-13 (NKJ). "Remember
those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to
you..."; "And He Himself gave some to be apostles,
some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry,
for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to
the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God,
to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness
But, what about practical, modern Church conditions, with
division, heresy, and apostasy found all too prevalent? Can
we submit ourselves to just anything that alleges itself to
be a ministry called of God? Has the Lord left any safeguards
whereby we may protect ourselves from submitting to "wolves
in sheep's clothing"; or even to under-shepherds who
know not the voice of the Chief Shepherd for these times?
Indeed He has! A careful study of the following passages
will convince sincere believers that they need not be deceived
in any situation: Matthew 7:15-20; John 7:17; John 10:27;
John 14:21-23; John 16:13; II THESS 2:10b; II Cor 11:4-33;
II COR 12:14-19; Titus 1:16.
The Lord will certainly give direction as to whom and what
we are to cooperate with, and submit ourselves to, if we will
really hear His voice. A peculiar and wonderful thing about
submission among a people sincerely dedicated to God's will
is that it solves problems and produces answers that nothing
else can. This is unity indeed.
The carnal mind, of course, foresees endless difficulties
when the matter of unity through submission is presented.
This is the "democratic" complex that fears the
"violation of our conscience", or the "surrender
of our individuality." But, let us bear in mind that
submission among humble, dedicated men or women does not rule
out counsel, exhortation, and even reproof of one another.
These are all enjoined by the Word.
However, if we are always asked to either do or say the
things "we have already decided that we want to do or
say, anyway"; can that be called submission in the truest
sense? Is it reasonable that God has required the Church to
attempt the seemingly impossible, in His command that we all
speak the same thing?
We can only conclude that God's ways are best, and that the
price for true unity is Godly submission to one another after
Preston Snowmam was a teacher at Pinecrest
for many years, and is presently pastoring in Portland, Maine.
He has published many books along the line of Christian unity
and function. We encourage you to write to him for a list
of available literature. Preston Snowman xxxxxxxxxx Street
Portland, Maine xxxxx.