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[thoughts] The Unified Church (March 1-7, 2004)

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  • Mark Roth
    Anabaptist Bookstore Services: http://www.anabaptistbooks.com/services/ ... This edition goes out today to 3183 subscribers. Thank you! ... THE UNIFIED CHURCH
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2004
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      Anabaptist Bookstore Services:

      This edition goes out today to 3183 subscribers. Thank you!

      (1 Thessalonians 1:6,7; Acts 2:41-44,46,47; 1 Corinthians 1:10;
      Philippians 1:27; 2:23; 3:16)

      Unity or uniformity?

      "He is all thumbs!" What if that were literally true? Such a person
      would be incapable of anything except lying around being a thumb --
      unable to see, eat, think, walk, and so forth. This individual
      would be an organ, not a body -- which means he wouldn't really be
      a person or an individual! He would be uniform, not united. A body
      is a combination of different parts forming a single entity. Unity
      is deliberately synchronized diversity. So a person who is all
      thumb is a useless organ, albeit uniform in appearance,
      perspective, ability, and function. In a natural sense, we
      recognize the need for and desirability of diversity. Can we accept
      that same premise in our view of the Church and our life in it?

      Until we understand the differences between unity and uniformity,
      we will be unable to appreciate differences in the Body. Unity
      implies variation; uniformity implies sameness. Unity suggests
      complex coordination; uniformity suggests lock step. Unity is
      harmony; uniformity is one steady note. Unity presupposes opposing
      functions; uniformity presupposes like functions. Unity has healthy
      tension; uniformity has sickly slackness.

      Had God wanted uniformity in my body, He could have made me all
      thumbs. Since He desired unity in me, He made me thumbs, fingers,
      eyes, ears, liver, nose, feet, ribs, kidneys, ligaments,
      cerebellum, appendix, femurs, and you'll have to consult a medical
      encyclopedia for further details! Had God wanted uniformity in this
      Church, He could have made us all clones of James Roth. Since He
      desires unity in His Body, He made Russell, Sam, Enos, Michayla,
      Jane, Peter, Andrew, Levi, Irene, Ruby, Dora, and a few score more.

      In a natural sense, diversity makes unity both necessary and
      possible. Each member has its unique contribution to the well-being
      and proper functioning of the body. Each member can profit from the
      counsel and different perspective of other members of the body. All
      needs can be met. The body can function in a balanced way. And one
      that is so obvious we tend to miss it: diversity is the only way we
      can even have a body in the first place!

      Shall we expect the Body of Christ to be any different?


      Philippians 2:2 declares the wish that we be likeminded -- "Fulfil
      ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of
      one accord, of one mind." I suspect this refers back to 1:27 --
      "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:
      that . . . ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving
      together for the faith of the gospel." So we must share this
      similar sentiment and ambition: Our lives will be consistent with
      the Gospel. On that we will stand fast, for that we will work
      together. We will know no lesser purpose.

      This kind of likemindedness loudly, clearly, and insistently calls
      us to be of the same mind in our humble consideration of each
      other, in our humiliation for another's benefit, in our unflinching
      commitment to the Gospel, and in our desire to put Jesus absolutely


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