Unity Through the Years and Over the Continents
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: Ephesians 4:13.
Unity is a wonderful goal. As I have mentioned many times before, I labor in Allegany County, New York. Within this county and on its periphery are churches with whom I fellowship and with whom I encourage my people to support during their special meetings. We all have similar doctrinal stands, but more importantly, we all adhere to the King James Bible. The pastors of those churches and their people have become dear to me and to our people here.
I have not drawn the barriers that currently exist between my church and the non-King James Churches. In my early days here, I regularly attended their prayer meetings held on a monthly basis. When D. L. Moody had trouble with ruffian gangs of Roman Catholic youth breaking up his street meetings, he went to the Bishop of Chicago and was courteously received.
He acknowledged to the Bishop that Roman Catholic Doctrine (Pre-Vatican II) would not allow the bishop to fellowship with him. He asked the Bishop if there was any prohibition for the two of them to pray together. The bishop thought about that and said, "no". There was no such prohibition. From that time on, Moody and the Bishop met regularly for prayer.
The bishop had not orchestrated the ruffians' tactics, but ruffian boys being what ruffian boys are, they sensed the bishop's displeasure with Moody's public tactics and used it as an excuse to cause trouble. They soon sensed the change in attitude with the priests and bishop and the meanness stopped.
With that in mind, I determined that I would attend the county-wide prayer meetings for clergy and interested people. There were Pentecostals, Methodists, affiliated Baptists, and Bible churches by the score. They were mostly sincere men and women who professed to believe in Jesus Christ, and they professed to believe in the necessity for salvation by faith, and the efficacy of prayer. What I learned quickly though was that unity was the single most important thing to them and that even a wiff of doctrinal discussion threatened their sense of well-being and unity.
The list of common beliefs was very brief.
God is good.
God loves us.
God answers prayer.
The need for unity superseded all other things. To these people, hearing about auditoriums full of young people waving their hands over their heads and singing about Jesus was proof of revival. There were always reports of some program or another gathering thousands of young people together for professions of love for Jesus. It never occurred to these people and it certainly never bothered them that the communities or colleges that sponsored these events never saw any change at all. To them, just the fact that the young people had gathered was sufficient proof of a great work of God.
Likewise, some of their churches attracted sizable crowds (for Allegany County) on Sundays. The big competition was the worship bands. A couple of churches had succeeded in putting on pretty good displays of hard rock and soulful rhythms combined with the right social touch and sense of religious well being. Their leadership instituted the typical programs that guide people to some kind of a deeper life or better marriage and social skills.
The rest of the churches tried worship teams that never seemed to catch on. It became stereotypical to see a few potbellied middle age couples holding their hands over their heads and swaying to some song in a sparsely attended church, all the while hoping that young people would see them as being "groovy" or "neato".
Meanwhile, those were the days in which the Lord was so graciously sending the Black Creek Baptist Church broken people. I remember a man from that prayer group stopping by our church on an errand during one of our bible studies. He saw a couple of local drug users in the study and he took me aside to warn me. He told me that they were grifters who had bilked just about every church in the county.
I laughed and said that I knew all about them. They had told me that themselves. They were deep under Holy Ghost conviction and both eventually got saved and had the God of Israel make wondrous changes in them. They run a ministry today called Liberty Behind Bars and are in full time Christian service. Dale has earned a doctorate in Christian counseling.
Eventually, I had to quit going to those prayer meetings. It seemed that I offended too many people with just about any comments I made. Among my friends I often get good advice and I often give it. The advice I take and the advice I give is based on solid bible truths. When a unity is achieved by ignoring bible truths, anyone stating bible truths is ostracized. What I often thought was helpful advice when I saw these preachers struggling with certain issues, instead turned out to be construed as hateful or divisive criticism.
True unity comes from God. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!, Psalms 133:1. As our opening verse said, it needs to be a unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God. That can only be achieved by having one source for the truth. The King James Bible is that source.
Genesis 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
Genesis 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
The best way to destroy unity is to confound the language. The best way to have unity is for everyone to speak the same. That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 15:6. That has been stolen from the churches by the introduction of the new bibles and their never ending search to say things differently. We hear the excuse given that people today don't talk like the King James Bible. Most of us know that that is a spurious excuse. People never talked like the King James Bible.
It is a form of speech which requires a little thought and a little time to get used to. We know it doesn't take much time because a 5 year old can learn it. A century ago, men and women learned it after only months or less in school. In African villages, Filipino Barrios, inner city American churches, Arctic villages, New Zealand farms, Scottish homesteads, Asian Indian missions, and throughout the length and breadth of the world wherever the English Language is spoken, people are taught to read this great heritage of the faith.
When we read a passage of scripture, we can read the exact same words read by soldiers before the battle of Blenheim. We can read the exact same passages that Astronauts read while circling the moon in 1967. We can read the same words that early Australian settlers read as they conquered the outback. We can read the same words that African children read in their simple school houses. We can read the same words that Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis read as they guided their respective people in war.
We can read the same words that burst forth in the Great Awakening, the great Methodist Revivals, the Billy Sunday meetings, the Salvation Army street ministries, and in the log cabins of the Canadian and American frontier churches. We can read the words that POWs read in their long days and nights of captivity. We can read the single most unifying words ever published on this earth. Meanwhile, in the name of some sickening unity based on a hollow cheapened form of christianity, people are encouraged to read other bibles. They are the true destroyers of unity.