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Unity v. Truth in the Apostate Church

from the May 13, 2008 eNews issue

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

Matthew 10:32-33

The minister at Toronto's West Hill United Church, Rev. Gretta Vosper, does not teach her congregation to recite the Apostle's Creed. She does not believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit or born of a virgin. She does not believe that Jesus rose again from the dead or ascended into heaven... or most of the basic tenets of Biblical Christianity. In fact, when her congregation sings famous hymns, the references to Christ and God are removed. Yet, Ms. Vosper calls herself a "Christian" and runs a church in one of Canada's largest Protestant denominations.

Ms. Vosper believes that all that stuff about resurrection and miracles and the forgiveness of sins is something the Christian Church has to get past in order to make it in the 21st Century world. To her, the essence of Christianity is about loving your neighbor. She therefore follows some of the teachings of Christ - according to her preferred interpretation of those teachings. The rest of his message, about dying for our sins, rising again on the third day, and being one with the Father, those must be things she just ignores.

On the other hand, famous evangelical theologian J.I. Packer has recently cut his ties with the Anglican Church of Canada because a significant portion of its liberal leadership has become heretical. He is not alone in his concern. A number of more conservative Anglican parishes have protested the gradual acceptance of homosexuality within many Anglican dioceses. These parishes have split off in increasing numbers, aligning themselves with their Anglican brothers and sisters in other countries. The divisions are not just caused by sex issues. A chasm has steadily grown between those who hold conservative, Bible-based beliefs and those who affirm more liberal, man-centered views.

Packer still believes the Bible is the absolute authority on divine truth. "I'm simply being an old-fashioned mainstream Anglican," Packer said. He hasn't changed, and the Bible hasn't changed, but the Anglican leadership in Canada certainly has.

Since the days of the apostles themselves, Christianity has been full of division. Paul rebuked the Corinthians for being divided among themselves, for some saying, "I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ (1 Cor 1:12)." He encouraged them to be "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (1 Cor 1:10)."

Yet, Jesus himself warned that he did not come to earth to bring peace, and that he would divide even families. Christianity is not really its own religion, after all. Christianity is merely Mature Judaism. Jesus split Judaism into two camps – those who followed Christ in the New Covenant, and those who clung to the Old Covenant.

Psalm 133 describes how desirable unity is. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard..." We are to seek unity, to exhort each other in humility and love (and not rudeness or high-and-mightiness). Our love for one another is something that is supposed to demonstrate to the world that we are Christ's (John 13:35). Church leaders are to know the Word of God, so that they may "be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers (Titus 1:9)." Yet, when the choice comes down to unity or truth, truth must always win. Unity can never be more important than following Christ himself.

"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:37-38)."

Rev. Gretta Vosper is wrong about the future of Christianity. Biblical Christianity that is full of the Spirit of God will never become outdated. It might be scorned by the intellectuals who consider themselves wise, and it might be rejected by those who seek the praise of man over the praise of God. But, the Spirit of God is always at work in the hearts of men, giving life to human spirits by the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2Cor. 4:6)."

Jesus never promised us unity in this world. He did, however, say that he was the way, the truth, and the life. If we keep our eyes on him, we'll be walking in unity with all others who are doing the same.


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