This post is a continuation of the series on false unity. In order to properly understand what is written here, it is imperative that you first read Part 1, if you have not already done so.
True Unity is Not All-Inclusive
It’s just not humanly possible to be committed to everyone in the same way and degree as we are to our own immediate families or our spouse, nor is that what God intended. Contrary to the idiotic, New Age, one-world, humanistic philosophies, the human race is not “just one big cosmic-family.” Yet, many professing believers have not disabused their minds from the plethora of these kinds of “vain philosophies” and replaced them with the Truth of the Word of God. The result is that the belief system of these professing Christians is an eclectic mixture of false doctrines rooted in false philosophies and false religions from Astrology to Zen and everything in between. Certainly no less can be expected when masses of professing Christians are practitioners of scads of demon-associated practices from martial arts to Freemasonry to occult rituals to yoga and a slew of other false religious rituals, and are ensconced in romantic relationships with practicing and therefore demon-possessed Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists, and so on.
God simply does not intend for us to be in “unity” with everyone! Unity is a oneness in mind and purpose. It is an agreement of sorts. Amos 3:3 says that two cannot walk together except by agreement. Believers cannot be in unity or agreement with and walk with certain people. That’s just the way it is—deal with it! As much as you may want to bring the world’s humanistic unity along with the rest of its vain philosophies with you into the Kingdom when you enter it, that cannot fly. And, at that stage of your immaturity, if you do not yet understand that and all the whys and wherefores of it, then you’ve just got to accept it by faith as being the wisdom of the wiser than you!
Sorry, you’ve got to check all the world’s philosophies at the door when you enter the Kingdom of God! I know it makes you feel diminished and vulnerable as you start off-loading all that “wisdom” and “knowledge” that you accumulated from the world’s university of “higher learning,” but that’s the way it’s supposed to make you feel—humbled is the word—so that you will cast the whole of the weight of reliance upon God Himself and none other. All of that is nothing more than hot air and bluster that just makes you feel smarter, wiser, and more grandiose than you really are anyway. It’s all a lie, and you’ve bought into it all hook, line, and sinker. So, how smart are you really, big shot? All along the devil’s been lying to you and making you think more highly of yourself than you ought, which results in separation from God, so that he can ultimately destroy you. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prv. 16:18); and, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5). So, why don’t you make it easy on yourself and humble yourself before you are humiliated and come on down here with the rest of us Lilliputians who have realized we’re a big fat ZERO in ourselves apart from God?!
Believers are not called to be in unity and agreement with everyone! We can’t be! Our quest is fellowship, union, and communion with God preeminently—to walk with God. By definition, to walk with God, we must be in agreement with God. To be in agreement with God intrinsically means that we are going to be in disagreement, disunity, disfellowship with fellow humans who are not walking with God. It’s just that simple. The Spirit puts it this way:
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor. 6:14-18, NAS)
This is one of the many promises of God in Scripture that is a promise of contingency. It’s a covenant, an agreement, a contract—with God. It is a promise, for sure, but it has conditions that are just as sure, and those conditions must be met if the promise is to be fulfilled. The benefits of the promise are great—to the person who meets the conditions. To that person, God promises to dwell with them, walk with them, be their God and be their Father. But, if the conditions are not met, one cannot expect the benefits of the promise to inure to them.
Imbalanced “Unity” is an Abomination to God
Close study of the relatively (and surprisingly) small number of unity Scripture passages makes it clear there is a distinct difference between the “unity of the Spirit” God speaks about in His Word and the notion of “unity” centered around “covenant relationships” and promulgated by Latter Rain-influenced teachers. Subtle twisting of the Spirit-intended and -inspired import of God’s Word and an imbalance in the application of the precept of unity has resulted in a distorted and debauched version of unity. Virtually invariably, over-emphasis, or over-balance, is what makes erroneous teaching erroneous, rather than the radical deviation from truth people commonly look for in their vigilance to spot error and avert deception..
Over-emphasis is over-balance, over-balance is imbalance, and imbalance is error, and—”A false balance [imbalance] is an abomination to God” (Pro. 11:1). Truth consists of counterbalancing components. Imbalance is averted by counterbalancing each component of Truth with the rest of “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27, RSV). Theological Truth is analogous to human cells in that each cell contains the protoplasm that comprises the whole body. In other words, each component of Theological Truth gleaned from the Word of God contains the essence of the whole Word of God, and will be completely compatible and congruous with same.
The unfortunate dynamic of imbalance or over-balance is that once it occurs, everything, even that which is good and right, slides toward the imbalance or error and becomes tainted by it. So that, once a person or a group loses spiritual equilibrium, a downward spiral into apostasy is begun. Only the sudden applying of a counter-balancing weight equal to the imbalancing weight can halt the descent, rectify the imbalance, and regain the equilibrium. Many believers and whole groups of believers, unfortunately have slid into an imbalance with respect to “unity” that is an abomination to God. Thus, an equal weight to the over-balance must be applied to the opposite side to regain the balance and rectify the abomination. God often uses prophets to bring a counterbalancing word which when given brings an offense to the mind of believers caught up in the deception. God often offends the mind to win the heart.
True Unity is of the Holy Spirit, not the Human Spirit
Unity among believers is vital, but it is secondary to and actually a bi-product of unity with God. A significant corroboration of that truth, though I will not elaborate on it here, is represented in the typology of Moses’ Tabernacle, in that the Table of Showbread, typifying the Communion Table, one aspect of which is fellowship among fellow believers (cf., 1 Cor. 10:16,17), was located not in The Most Holy Place of God’s presence, or Holy of Holies, but its anteroom, The Holy Place. The former signified fellowship with God and the latter represented fellowship with one another.
True unity is a union or “oneness” with God first and then with our fellows second. True unity is a unity in which our love for and loyalty to God is first or preeminent, and all other relationships are secondary or subordinate. In fact, true unity is a unity that results in unity with fellow believers but is rooted in and an outflow of union and communion with God. The nature of true unity is that apart from God it does not exist. True unity is a characteristic of the nature of God. Thus, He alone is the source of genuine unity. Contrary to what some people apparently believe, unity does not exist because you are wanting to have or produce unity. Rather, it transpires when you become, as the Early Church did however briefly, “worshipers in spirit and truth.” In other words, unity is an outflow of true worship—”true worship” being defined as “worship in spirit and truth.”
Unity is a God-thing! True unity is the unity that originates with the Godhead, the Trinity. The three Persons of the Godhead continually live in complete unity—oneness of mind and purpose. There most definitely is a “oneness” with the Godhead, but not the kind that unitarianists or modalists want us to believe. It is this perfect oneness or unity that flows from the Godhead that is genuine, bona fide unity. That’s the Real McCoy! All other forms of unity are merely human and are counterfeits! Without God, and without His Spirit flowing through you to shape and formulate your life, you will never experience or appropriate the real thing! Genuine unity cannot be manufactured, but it can be generated through supernatural communion (union via fellowship) with the Spirit of God both directly and in the human spirits that He habitates.
Distinguishing True Unity of the Spirit From Contrived Counterfeits
Applied to human interrelations in general and the Body of Christ in particular, true unity of the Spirit flows out of a mutuality, a oneness in purpose and intent, between the Head (Christ) and the Body (believers). True unity of the Spirit is predicated on and operates by means of interdependency in which both the Head and the Body have equal importance and functionality. True unity of the Spirit is a fulfillment of Philippians 2:1-4, in which both the Head and the Body are of the same mind, maintaining mutual love, united in the Spirit, intent on the same solitary purpose (God’s), doing nothing from selfish contentiousness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind each regards the other as more important than itself, not merely looking out for its own personal interests, but more concerned about the interests of others.
Being “united with Him” (Rom. 6:5) is the basis for true unity among humans. It is the peace of God that is “the perfect bond” between brethren and the perfect unity preservative. It is the unity “of the SPIRIT” that we are exhorted to preserve (Eph. 4:3)—the unity which is of and emanates from the Spirit, or Life, or Nature, of God, not humanistic unity. True unity is not a product of the human spirit, but the Holy Spirit. True unity cannot be manufactured by human endeavor, but only by the workings of the Holy Spirit. True unity of the Spirit is the by-product of being unified with Christ by virtue of the New Birth and walking in union and unity with the indwelling Spirit of God. True unity is not the product of “a meeting of the minds” or a contrived unanimity of men, but the natural by-product and outflow of agreement with the mind of Christ and conformity with the Image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). The groundwork for unity is not humans “reaching an understanding,” but redeemed humanity renewing their minds with an understanding of the Word of God, and standing under its veracious authority.
True unity is manifest not by men seeking “common ground,” but the “higher ground” of the Spirit realm. True unity is not based on compromise and reconciliation of differences, but rather conviction and reconciliation of humans’ sin. True unity is not the result of talking things out, but walking, walking in the Spirit, for when we walk in the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit—”love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-discipline”—we avoid carrying out the deeds of the flesh, which are acts of selfishness and self-centeredness that separate fellows.. Instead, when we walk in the Spirit, we automatically abide in unity with others who also are so abiding. True unity automatically abides among people truly abiding in Christ. In short, true unity is not man-centered, but truly is Christ-centered!
Indeed, Christ Himself is the very essence of true unity. Any so-called unity and peace not established upon the foundation-rock of Christ is a Godless, humanistic, and totally counterfeit unity. Actions taken by humans in the natural, fleshly realm aimed at producing “unity” among men merely for purposes of self-interest, selfish-gain, selfish ambition, and self-aggrandizement, can never produce real “unity.” Rather, the most it can ever produce is a bogus, synthetic, worthless truce, a dictionary definition of which is “a respite from a disagreeable state of affairs,” rather than true unity. A “respite” is a short interval of rest or relief from adverse circumstances. Another definition of a truce is that it is an “armistice”—a temporary cessation of fighting by mutual consent. In the realm of warfare, an armistice or truce is usually an agreement entered into by two parties in which one, the vanquished party, is capitulating (surrendering, yielding) to the vanquishing party, the victor. One, through overwhelming force, has overpowered the other, and as an act of self-preservation the vanquished capitulates or yields to the vanquishing party.
The Bad Fruit of False Unity
Sadly, that is precisely how the precept of “covenant relationships” is used in much of the church realm, with the only difference being that the agreement is usually a “covenant” between the leadership (the victor) of the church or ministry and its members (the vanquished). Sometimes that religious hegemony is overt and obvious, but more often now these days it is subtle and disguised. Nevertheless, regardless of which form it comes in, the result is always psychological imprisonment and spiritual impairment. The victim will feel mentally incarcerated and spiritually diminished. Their poverty is revealed in the trials, troubles, tribulations, and tensions of life. As the storms of life or just the struggles of daily living arise, they find themselves bankrupt of the mental, emotional, and spiritual wherewithal they need to stand and withstand the torrents of trouble. Why? Because they’ve unknowingly disconnected from the Sovereign Source of Supply by connecting or “covenanting” instead with a self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing, self-deceived leadership that represents itself as being its followers’ source. So, when they need God, they literally can’t find Him!—because they’ve been indoctrinated to look somewhere else to someone else.
Do you think it may have been to this sort of subtle idolatry that Jesus was referring when He admonished us to call no one our “leader?”
In the third part of this series, we will examine more vital matters concerning the negative effects of false unity and how to balance the scales.
[Original Post Date on Real Truth Digest E-zine: 11/08/2003]
Editor’s note: This article is adapted from the book, CHARISMATIC CAPTIVATION, by Dr. Steven Lambert. The book exposes the widespread problem of authoritarian abuse in Neo-Pentecostal church-groups, and explains how it became infused into the very fabric, foundation, and functions of the Neo-Pentecostal church arising out of a false movement known as the Discipleship/Shepherding Movement (1970-77). References to “Discipleship” or “Shepherding” (and variables) doctrines, teachings, proponents and participants, and so forth, allude to the pertinences associated with that movement.