For many centuries the precious unity of the Church disappeared when the Headship of Christ was abandoned in favor of an earthly headship. The divinely appointed order of “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers” gave way to human orders. God is now restoring.
The world crisis demands the restoration of this divinely intended unity. The survival of apostolic Christianity requires it especially now as the united modernist church is rising boldly diluting everything that is sacred and representing itself as the true Church. The true Church must not be overcautious in hindering or delaying its’ joining efforts for unity lest it leave the Church vulnerable toward the rising tide of evil that seeks to engulf it.
We can have that unity now if we are willing to subordinate personal interests to the interests of the whole Church.
But that there be no misunderstanding, we should make it plain that we do not propose that the way to unity is through building a new organization or merging existing organizations into some super organization. Just as the autonomy of a local church is to be preserved, autonomy also should be maintained within any group, large or small, which is a part of the Body of Christ. History has proven that when power is vested in one center as in Rome it leads in only one direction, to an apostate Church.
As members of the Body of Christ, we are interdependent on each other but totally dependent on the Head, which is Christ.
The thing that is imperative is that we the members of the Body of Christ shall recognize each other and work in cooperation with each other and publicly impress the world that we are members of one Body regardless of affiliation. To effectively do this we must follow the Bible method by which this unity may be sustained.
How should a traveling minister conduct himself in a local church of whom a pastor has the oversight? What must a pastor do to fulfill his Christian obligation to the traveling minister? How may two or more pastors in a city get together and develop a local fellowship? Under what conditions is it possible to have a union or Body-wide meeting of multiple pastors and churches? What doctrinal agreement is necessary for fellowship? What other qualifications are necessary for fellowship? What would exclude an organization from active fellowship in the Body of Christ?
It is to these questions that we must find scriptural answers if we are to have true fellowship which will result in the unity of the Body of Christ for which Christ prayed. To successfully promote great revivals and conserve the results thereof demands that these problems find a solution. We believe the Bible holds those answers.
We believe that there is a true basis for fellowship between all members of the Body Christ, regardless of affiliation. We must proclaim the essential unity of it and the scriptural means by which that unity can be maintained.
Serious students of the New Testament generally agree that God’s plan as it is revealed in the Scriptures, envisions a Church that is one. Apart from the plain statements of the Bible, it seems unlikely that God intended His Church to be broken into incompatible groups that are in some cases hostile to each other.
This is not to say that there will not always be in this age certain well-defined spheres of responsibility and influence within the Church. There is room for many enterprises, providing each recognizes the other in true Christian spirit, and seeks to build the kingdom of God and not their own. Peter had a definite ministry to the Jews, while Paul’s apostleship was specifically to the Gentiles.
But despite the differences of culture and temperament, the leaders in the early Church constantly labored that the body of fellowship should be kept intact between all believers. They understood that God’s plan for the Church is that it should be one. And so it was that during apostolic times and for a space thereafter that this unity of the Spirit was essentially maintained.
May the prayer of our great High Priest come into full manifestation in this hour.
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 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. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me”