In the high priestly prayer of Christ, He prayed “that they may be one” (John 17:11).
In the upper room, 120 fully devoted followers of Christ prayed. The Holy Spirit fell and, “they were all with one accord” (Acts 2:1).
In the early days of the infant church, “all that believed were together” (Acts 2:44).
And peoples’ lives were dramatically transformed by the thousands.
At the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix this month, Southern Baptist entity heads, state convention executives, and ethnic fellowship leaders signed a document entitled “Affirmation of Unity and Cooperative.” We pledged as brothers and sisters in Christ to walk in unity to fulfill the Great Commission and live out the Great Commandment.
Never have I been more hopeful that the Southern Baptist Convention, the Tennessee Baptist Convention and other Great Commission partners will experience heaven-birthed unity. From the very heart of God by His Son and through His Spirit does life-giving unity flow.
We are all weary of unions that have to be preserved by fleshly ecclesiastical diplomacy and denominational “politicin’.” That kind of “unity” is not only repulsive to those outside of Christ but has to crush the heart of our Savior. Worldly unity can be achieved in the flesh, but spiritual unity can only be realized by a complete submission to His Lordship.
Here is a picture: tie the tails of two cats together, and you have union—but you ain’t got unity!
And when we do see God-given spiritual unity, you can rest assured that Satan will do everything he can to destroy it. When Christians are together in purity and passion, nothing can stop the advancement of the Kingdom of God, not even the gates of hell. So our enemy, the great deceiver, will use anything and everything to destroy unity.
But with all of my heart, I believe God is putting unity back in “cooperation” and the passion back in “program” for a fellowship of churches known as the Tennessee Baptist Convention. We are once again experiencing together the excitement of “Great” and the vision of “Commission.” We will enjoy and employ the depth of the “Great Commandment.” We are taking steps to really impact our world for Christ…together.
I fully trust the hearts of men like Tom Elliff, new president of the IMB, Kevin Ezell, president of NAMB, and Frank Page, president of the SBC executive committee. It is with much hope that we all put our names on that Phoenix document. Now we put our trust in the God of all hope that our best days are ahead of us for His glory. Let’s make up our minds to walk together under His Lordship.