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 (Manna 69: One True Church)
Church Unity
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Church Unity

Yung-Ji Lin—Taichung, Taiwan

Translated from Holy Spirit Monthly, Issue: 425

In recent years, scholars have begun to take an interest in the True Jesus Church and her development. To this end, the development of the True Jesus Church was included in the agenda of an international discussion on religions held in 2012.

A common understanding regarding the church and her teachings is vital. Erroneous teaching leads people away from God, and we cannot be complacent in these last days because the devil incessantly seeks to destroy the church of God. The apostolic church started to deteriorate around 100 A.D. But Paul had already warned them earlier, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:6–8).

What is precious about the True Jesus Church is our uncompromising faith in the Bible because we believe that the word of the Lord never changes. We accept what the Bible says and we have indeed experienced the blessings promised by God.

The True Jesus Church has been established for nearly a century now. We have witnessed the development of the true church and its establishment in over sixty different countries and regions; this is truly the grace of God. However, as the church grows, she faces a great challenge today, which are increased attacks from the evil one; he divides believers by altering the truth and tarnishes the image of church organization, which, in turn, causes the believers to lose their faith and trust in the true church. Faced with such challenges, we ought to rely on the Lord and His great power to be strong to withstand the devil’s schemes. We must remind churches everywhere to hold fast to the truth and pursue unity in the truth in order to be victorious over the devil’s ploy.

So important was the unity of the church to Paul that even in the midst of his imprisonment, this issue preoccupied him. Therefore, Paul provided specific guidance with regard to church unity saying, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:1–3).

From Paul’s teachings we know that we ought to pursue unity so that we will be worthy to receive salvation. How then do we go about pursuing this? Paul proposes five key points:

I. Humility

The humility of believers promotes church unity.
The people of the world live in sin, surrounded by dissension, hatred, murder, and disharmony. The Lord Jesus understands the misery of humankind and knows that the only way for man to live a blissful life is to remove the evil in man’s heart.

To redeem man from sin, He humbled Himself and came into the world as a man. To shoulder the sins of mankind, He submitted to the will of the heavenly Father—to undergo crucifixion, shedding His blood for the redemption of mankind, so that whosoever desires to receive the grace of salvation can be reconciled with God. We ought to emulate the Lord’s humility and submit to the truth. Only thus can we be reconciled with our brethren and attain church unity (cf. Phil 2:6–8).

Without humility, there is no submission to the truth. Different people insist on their different concepts of serving God, leading to dissension and division within the church. A humble person respects God’s guidance; if his opinion does not receive general concurrence, he will wait patiently for God’s time, believing firmly that God is in charge (cf. Isa 2:4).

For example, if a person has a new understanding of the church’s beliefs, deems it to be consistent with the truth and wishes to advocate this new perspective, he should first raise this for discussion in the church’s “Truth Research Meeting.” However, if the subsequent discussion does not yield any consensus and concurrence on this new view, the proponent has to learn to wait patiently for God’s time, submit to the stipulation of the church and not proclaim a teaching that has not become part of the church’s common beliefs. This is humility. Believing that God has His time, we ought to hold firm to the belief that the Spirit of truth will guide us into unity in all truth (Jn 16:13). A united church is one where everyone humbles himself before God and submits to the leadership of the church with neither discontentment nor complaint (Eph 4:13).

II. Gentleness

Gentleness amongst believers will also promote church unity.
Gentleness is a characteristic that falls between the two extremes of being easily angered and never getting angry. In other words, a gentle person gets angry only when there is cause to be angry, e.g., for the truth’s sake, not wanting others to be deceived and to lose their spiritual life. In other situations, when the truth is not concerned, a gentle person can keep himself or herself away from anger.

The Lord Jesus was an extremely gentle person and lowly in heart (Mt 11:29). He was not offended by Nathanael’s unreasonable criticism but even praised Nathanael as a true Israelite in whom was no deceit. His gentleness won Nathanael’s heart. Yet the gentle Lord could lose His temper, and on one occasion, He even became extremely furious. So great was His fury that He made a whip of cords in the holy temple, drove out the oxen and sheep, poured out the changers’ money and overturned their tables. All because these traders had made the Father’s house a house of merchandise (Jn 2:13–17).

Moses was another very humble man. When his authority was challenged, he was neither angry nor defensive. Instead, he placed the matter entirely in the hands of God (cf. Num 16:1–5). In contrast, when the people went against God to worship the golden calf, he burnt with such great anger for the truth that he cast down the tablets he had just received from God and broke them. God was also incensed and wanted Moses to execute these rebellious people (Ex 32:7–10, 19–21).

Thus we can see that being gentle and lowly at heart does not mean that we are not allowed to get angry. When someone deceives others and leads them away from the truth and the church, we must not keep silent. Instead, we must vigorously defend the truth and courageously take a firm stand to deal with the person who misleads other believers into departing from the truth. In short, where the truth is concerned, no compromise should be made lest the truth be distorted and the unity of the church be destroyed.

On the other hand, we need not lose our temper over matters that do not concern the truth:

“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”

(Rom 12:17–19)

Gentleness and humility means being able and willing to suffer loss and being taken advantage of in situations that do not involve the truth. When we understand the true meaning of being gentle, we will be able to defend the truth; the church will then be united in the truth.

III. Endurance

The endurance of believers can also promote church unity.
Envy, strife, criticism, and judging are inevitable in church, for we are all still human. While we may wonder how these things can happen in the true church of God, this should not cause us to doubt the church. All these negative incidents still occur because the level of spirituality varies amongst believers: some are like babes who are prone to envy and strife (1 Cor 3:1–3); some are like children who are susceptible to deception (Eph 4:14); but there also those who are spiritually mature and able to discern between good and evil (Heb 5:14).

Let us not quibble with weaker believers but patiently guide them as parents so that they will grow in the truth. When all of us have matured and become full-grown spiritual adults, the church will truly attain unity in the truth.

IV. Love

Love amongst believers will promote church unity.
When we meet with believers who are weak, not only do we need to be patient, we also have to help them grow.

The Lord Jesus said, “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Mt 5:39). This “evil person” refers to a person who is spiritually immature. When someone slaps us on our right cheek, let us not set ourselves against him but instead be patient and avoid retaliation. We are also told to “turn the other cheek to him”—what does this mean? From the subsequent part of the passage we can understand its meaning. The Lord Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” In other words, we are to return good for evil—this is clearly much more difficult to do than just physically “turning the other cheek to him.”

Once there was an officer who struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do You answer the high priest like that?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?” Jesus did not retaliate after being struck, but the evil one perversely continued persecuting Jesus. Eventually, the Lord Jesus was crucified. But amidst extreme suffering, Jesus still prayed to the heavenly Father, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Out of love, the Lord Jesus was forbearing with those who persecuted Him.

Within the church we ought to learn to bear with those who ill-treat us, even if they demand a yard after taking an inch. Let us not set ourselves against them but instead trust that “vengeance belongs to God, God will repay.” Perhaps there will come a day when their hearts are touched by God and they become repentant.

We believe that only love can melt away every kind of difficulty. For example, historically, the love of Christ contributed to the abolishment of slavery; therefore we ought to forbear the ignorance of others through love and guide them in the path of truth. This will promote unity in the truth, which, in turn, facilitates church growth.

V. Peace

If believers seek to live peaceably with each other, there will be church unity.
When someone offends us, not only should we forbear his ignorance out of love for him, we ought to communicate peaceably with him.

The Lord Jesus said, “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother” (Mt 18:15). This is how we pursue harmony with a peaceable attitude.

If the person who offends us refuses to heed our advice, let us not lose heart. Let us take one or two more spiritually sound brethren along to advise him or her, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established (Mt 18:16). This is a more positive way of dealing with conflicts. Furthermore, if the person who offends us has his conscience blinded such that he hardens his heart and refuses to heed any advice, we should then communicate this to the church and allow the church to handle the matter (Mt 18:17). We ought to avoid willfully bringing the disagreement or conflict to the court, much less broadcast the matter to the general public who, not understanding the full context, may make erroneous judgments (1 Cor 6:1–8). Entrusting resolution to third parties outside the church is a reflection of distrust in and disrespect for the church.

We ought to trust the church as the Lord Jesus had once said, “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Mt 18:18). The church is the body of Christ, and she is different from other organizations in society. God entrusted spiritual authority to the church so that she can baptize people for the remission of sins and also hold the authority to maintain discipline within the church.

We need to be alert to the warning signs. A person blinded by sin loves to broadcast to the uninformed general public. To hold the thought that any misunderstanding can be solved on the social media is falling right into the devil’s trap. For people who are blinded by sin have ceased to accept any advice given by other brethren, and they despise the way the church handles the conflict involving them. Instead, they hope to create confusion on the social media by presenting a warped version of the church’s well-meaning explanations, causing other believers to be dragged along by the evil one and be overcome.

Therefore the Lord Jesus said, “But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector” (Mt 18:17).
When there are conflicts among brethren, all ought to submit to the teachings of the Lord in handling such matters. We earnestly believe that this is the way to bring about church unity.


After Paul had presented the five important points that promote church unity, he gave us this further encouragement, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Church unity is a gracious blessing that the Holy Spirit bestowed upon us long ago. However, such unity is difficult to maintain and may even be easily lost. We must do our best to preserve it. Just as couples take up the responsibility of preserving the blissful marriages that God has given them, even more so we should all do our best to preserve church unity.

How do we do our utmost to preserve church unity?
Church unity is preserved by relying on the Holy Spirit and cannot be developed through man’s will. When a man falls short of the glory of God, he will turn arrogant and self-righteous, and he will manifest the bitter envy and contention in his heart in various ways (Rom 3:23; Jas 3:14–18). Therefore, we have to rely on prayer and submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will allow us to realize our inner shortcomings, help us change ourselves and learn humility, gentleness, perseverance, love, and peace. Only then can we bring about church unity. Through this process, we will better understand the power of the Holy Spirit and rely on Him to defend ourselves against the ploys of the evil one. Simultaneously, we ought to make an effort to learn and understand the Bible, emulate Jesus in using the word of God to resist the devil, to uphold the truth and agree with the true church. In this way, Satan will not stand a chance to work.

When the church is united, she will make great leaps in her growth. We shall enjoy the same experience as the church in Jerusalem—we will be preserved by the Holy Spirit to be united as one and have favor with all the people. And the Lord will add to the church daily those who are being saved (Acts 2:46–47).

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Author: Yung-Ji Lin