Unity Of The Faith
by Sandy Simpson
…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become MATURE, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Those who are mature in Christ are those who are reaching unity in the Faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God. Those who are not mature strive for ecumenical or interfaith unity thinking that they are growing in the Lord, and it is usually a point of pride to them. But they have mistaken what Paul was talking about. Unity in the Faith is talking about coming to a common understanding and practice of the core truths of the Faith as taught to us in the Bible through Jesus Christ and the Apostles. We already have the unity of the Spirit when we believe and are born again of the Holy Spirit.
Rom. 6:5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
If we are united with Christ in His death and resurrection, we are also united together as the body of Christ.
1 Cor. 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
It is true that we must also make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through peace among the brethren.
Eph. 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
But there is also a “unity of the Faith” that we as Christians must strive for in order for us to be in the Faith, and not in heresy. If we wander away from the truth, we wander away from the unity of the Faith.
There are many types of “wandering” explained in the Bible. There is a wandering from the Faith through greed.
1 Tim. 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
There is also a “wandering” from the Faith by believing in false teaching.
2 Tim. 2:17-18 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some
1 Tim. 6:20-21 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.
Those who are entrusted with overseeing the Church of Jesus Christ have a God-given responsibility to bring the flock into unity with the core doctrines of the Faith. If they are not doing that, but instead bringing winds of doctrine to bear on their flock, the Bible says this will cause disunity in the Faith. Those who do this are called “heretics” or the “divisive ones” in the Word. We are to reject men who cause disunity of the Faith over false doctrines after one or two admonitions. This is because if these people are left to operate freely in the body of Christ, it can cause the faith of many to be shipwrecked and even destroyed. This is what we are seeing happening today on Christian TV and in churches worldwide. This is all a result of Christians either not understanding the concept of “unity of the Faith” or ignoring it. To most Christians today the word “unity” has taken on a distinctly worldly New Age connotation. It has this sort of sickeningly sweet, cloying romantic aspect to it. Everything can just be solved by “tolerance” and, well, let’s all just have a group hug! But this is not at all what the Bible teaches.
Today there is a push, both in the world and in the churches, to come to global unity. The UN is at the forefront of trying to unite the world under global governance. They are even trying to unite religions under their United Religions Initiative. At the same time, the false apostles of the New Apostolic Reformation under C. Peter Wagner are also pushing for a “global church”.
Father, I thank you for those who have the office of either a prophet or a prophetess or have a strong flow in the prophetic. And Lord Jesus, we as a group of pastors, many in this room apostolic pastors, we release, we bless, we confirm the calling of the prophet - the calling of the prophetess - the calling of the prophetic, and we welcome it into the global church of the world. … And Lord God, we all love you so much and we thank you for the restoration of the apostolic and the prophetic in the local church congregation and in the global church so that we can do explosive ministry. In Jesus' name, Amen. (Ted Haggard, National School Of The Prophets, Mobilizing The Prophetic Office, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO, Sat. May 13, 2000 11:00 AM)
This theme was expressed by others such as false prophet Mike Bickle, who is heading the International House Of Prayer (IHOP) into a global “prayer movement”. The unity of the “woman that rides the beast” (Rev. 17:7) is coming together in our time much more quickly than many have dreamed possible. I believe this is judgment from God on those who do not want to obey the Lord by fleeing from false teachers, and it is a test for those who do. How many Christians will be able to read the “signs of the times” (Matt. 16:3)?
True unity of the Faith can only be put into practice by understanding what the Bible is teaching, in context, and living that out in real life. Yet for most Christians today the word “doctrine” is immediately pushed to the sidelines in favor of experience. One wise man said “If your doctrine is not correct, your experience will not be correct either.” What Paul was telling the Ephesians was that “doctrine” is the MOST important thing. What you believe is the most important thing about you, because if you believe in the wrong thing you are believing in vain. Countless numbers of people who call themselves Christians today are believing in another Jesus, a different Spirit, a different Gospel.
So it matters what you believe. When true believers come together in unity of the Spirit, they will always be working toward unity of the Faith. Anything that detracts from the pursuit of unity of the Faith is not a good thing. This is one tool you can use to test any church, organization or individual who claims to be following the Lord. Are they bringing Christians to unity of the Faith, or are their doctrines causing division.