Jesus calls us to join Him in HIS
|Mission Outreach Viewpoints
on UNITY IN CHRIST
Mission Outreach is led by Ray Downen of Joplin, Missouri, who is the sole sponsor of this call for unity. Ray says -- I grew up in a "Christian Church" congregation in Hutsonville, Illinois -- a small midwestern town in the U.S. While there I studied the Bible, and heard sermons about Christian unity and Christian living.
I also studied through a simple workbook published by Standard Publishing Company which was named, "New Training For Service." It had been edited by C. J. Sharp. It promoted Bible study, Bible understanding, and Christian unity. The study was led by an exemplary Christian worker, Ruth Houlette Sears, now retired and living in Mooresville, Indiana.
My desire to be part of a united church of God was made stronger by association in Joplin, Missouri with Seth Wilson, who was for many years Academic Dean of Ozark Christian College, [where to the considerable surprise of scholars I received a B.A. (Ministerial) degree in 1955,] and other inspiring Christian teachers [the teachers included Edwin Strong and Don Earl Boatman, both at the time serving as Ozark's president] and preachers, including Carl Ketcherside and Leroy Garrett (see Viewpoint Study #86), and, more lately, Cecil Hook. I'm impressed also by the call for Christian witness through unity of Chris DeWelt [College Press] of Joplin, Missouri and Lyle Ensminger of California. And, please check out remarks about unity by Neal Griffin.
I'm sure that Jesus wants us who love Him to be in ONE body rather than in separated denominations. Denominationalism is a sin, condemned in the Bible, but practiced and praised by many in our day. In Viewpoint Study #91 are articles by Reuel Lemmons (writing in 1985), Steven Clark Goad, whose 1997 book published by College Press, "Gullible's Travels," is a must read, and Bill Leong all pointing to unity through shared obedience to Jesus Christ.
Charles Gresham, in Viewpoint Study #37 comments on Bible understanding that will allow all Bible believers to be united. Doug Oakes, in Viewpoint Study #75 points out why we believe unity is possible. In Viewpoint Study #85, Jay Wilson urges unity based on shared knowledge not only of the good word of God, but also of the good done by our brethren.
Unity is not possible if our attitude is wrong. This is the subject in Viewpoint Study #33 and also in Study #64, as well as many other Viewpoint studies and tracts where it's not the main subject.
We applaud all efforts at achieving real Christian unity. However, Christian unity is based upon shared obedience to, and love of, the Lord Jesus Christ. Unity outside Him is not Christian unity, however pleasant it may be for those working together. Creedal statements are designed to separate the good guys from the bad guys. Viewpoint Study #41 looks at a unity effort stalled because the brethren couldn't agree on an acceptable new creed. Some seek unity more diligently than others do.
Viewpoint Study #26 is another appeal for the heart which will let us be in unity. Each of these Viewpoint Studies is aimed at pointing the way to PROPER Bible Interpretation, which will cause us to be in unity with all who love and serve Jesus Christ. Christian unity is prevented by lack of love for Jesus and by lack of strong desire to please Him. Obstacles to Christian unity also include "liberalism," libertarianism and legalism.