Psalter manuscript

Ephesians 4:1-6 > A plea for unity


Every word God has spoken
Is plain as the sun in the sky;
Yet the Church by divisions is broken
With multitudes passing on by.
The doctrine her martyrs defended
Is silenced or poisoned with lies;
Today we are calmly contented
To be wise in our own foolish eyes.

Are the Scriptures you depend on
Constrained by fallen reason?
Is your worldview charged with treason?
Schism in the bride is sin!
Unify Your Church, O Lord, once again!

The truth we are charged to believe in
Is a seamless, harmonious whole;
Every part holds together in union
Like the blending of body and soul.
Not a jot may we treat with indifference
As we seek to walk straight by its light;
Let us therefore strive meekly in conference
To comprehend Scripture aright!

There are hirelings masquerading
Who are wolf-hounds in sheep’s clothing
More focused on parading!
Schism in the bride is sin!
Unify Your church, O Lord, once again!

Steve Layfield – July 2014

It is commonplace today to hear Church leaders talk about ‘open-handed’ (i.e. secondary) issues & ‘closed handed’ (i.e. primary) issues in relation to Biblical doctrine.  Primary issues we are told include the virgin birth, the resurrection, etc.  Secondary issues are much less easily identified – although fiat creation in six 24hr days is frequently cited as an exemplary candidate!!

However laudable the motivation – ‘don’t rock the boat’ / ‘keep the main things the main things’ in practice it is a hopeless & unscriptural aspiration.  Paul urges unity of belief (“there is ONE faith, ONE Lord, ONE baptism” [4:5]).  In His high priestly prayer of John 17, Jesus prays, “Let them be ONE even as we are one [17:11].  Likewise the purpose & goal of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) was to establish the Lord’s mind as a united body so as to avoid the development of a Judaizing faction as a separate entity from the apostolic body.

Formal unity was the goal of the Westminster Parliament in the crafting of the Wesminster Confession.  The present splintering of the Christian Church into thousands of sub-denominations is a massive indictment on the Church.  There ought to be a local expression of the Church that clearly identifies itself with the orthodox, historical Church of all time & place.  In due time, it is my conviction that we shall re-establish such formal, visible unity.  What prevents it??  Simply human pride, superficiality of thought & an unwillingness of disparate parties to sit down and, with prayer, work through the subtle differences in order to arrive at the underlying PROPOSITIONAL, OBJECTIVE, BIBLICAL truth.  Scripture itself is inherently plain (to those whose hearts are genuinely regenerated and humbly disposed).  May God grant to us patience, forbearance and a willingness to hear from others wiser and more proficient than ourselves in sacred studies!

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