Unity, Church

Unity, Church
   The most apparent, most manifest teaching of Holy Scripture is the unity or oneness of the Church of Christ. It was for this our Lord prayed, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me" (St. John 17:25). We have in these words declared the purpose of such unity, viz.: "that the world may believe." So, also, St. Paul wrote, "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one Body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all" (Ephesians 4:3-6). Again, in the New Testament the Church is called the Body of Christ, the kingdom of heaven, the Bride, and its people are declared to be branches of the one Vine Jesus Christ Himself. "The great thought running through all the New Testament descriptions of the Church is that of the Church's unity in itself through its union with Christ the Head." There is not the slightest warrant in the Bible for the present state of our divided Christianity, which is simply the result of sin and man's waywardness. This truth is becoming more and more realized among many earnest and thoughtful men in all religious bodies and they are longing and praying for the Reunion of Christendom. This desire has also developed a study of Church History which heretofore has been a much neglected department of Christian knowledge. This more general study of the history of the Church has already been productive of the greatest good. It has given men broader views and a clearer conception of that kingdom of grace, of which Christ is the Head and which is to be the one, living witness whereby the world may be brought to believe that the Divine Father hath sent His Son to be the world's Saviour. For this blessed consummation many earnest and devout men in all places and in almost every communion are using daily the following beautiful PRAYER FOR UNITY.
   "O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles, Peace I leave
   with you, My Peace I give unto you: Regard not our sins, but the
   faith of Thy Church; and grant her that Peace and Unity,
   which is agreeable to Thy Will, Who livest and reignest with the
   Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen."
   See Undivided Church.

American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. — New York, Thomas Whittaker. . 1901.

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