Christian Unity

We recognize that the New Testament places a high priority on the unity of the Church (John.  13:34-35; 17:20-23; Acts 4:32; Galatians 3:27-29; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-5, 14; Titus 3:9-11; James 2:1-13; I John 4).  Thus we desire to follow the maxim of the early Church: “In essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, and in all things charity.” In other words we desire to:

(1)  Clearly affirm the clearly revealed (i.e., the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith);

(2)  Be less dogmatic regarding issues not as exhaustively revealed or readily discerned (i.e., allow for some diversity);

(3)  Emphasize the essentials of the Christian faith and preserve the unity of the Church (i.e., without sacrificing our essential doctrines).

Thus dogmatism and intolerance are virtues when foundational doctrines of the faith are in dispute.  However, regarding less clearly revealed doctrines, dogmatism and intolerance are vices.  Humility and the preserving of unity are virtues Christians should manifest regarding less exhaustively revealed issues.

Furthermore, Christians today face many issues which the Bible does not directly address and are issues of Christian liberty (e.g., the nature of schooling which a particular Christian family chooses).  Regarding such issues each Christian is to be guided by the principles of Romans 14-15 and I Corinthians 8-10.  Often, different Christians will validly come to different conclusions regarding such issues.  Regarding these issues, Christians are not to judge one another or demand that others conform to their viewpoint.