The last thing that Jesus did as a free man was to pray. The last thing in prayed for was that his future followers would get along. This strongly suggests that unity was important to Jesus.
While unity among his followers was largely realized in the first century that has not been the case in the two millennia that followed. The record shows that Jesus’ followers have been increasingly polarized, divided, and strife-filled.
Although we will never all get along without God’s help, we can be aided by taking to heart the sage advice:
“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; it all things, charity”
Furthermore, the list of essentials should be short. Very short. As short as possible. My list has but one item: to pursue the God who is revealed in the Bible.
That is it, nothing more. Everything else is a non-essential and for that I advocate tolerance along with a generous portion of brotherly love.
It’s a great first step towards getting along.
[The quote is often attributed to Augustine, but there is no support for that assertion. It most likely originated several centuries later, from Peter Meiderlin, a 17th century Lutheran priest.]
Read more in How Big is Your Tent? A Call for Christian Unity, Tolerance, and Love and discover what the Bible says about following Jesus. Available in e-book and paperback.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.