One of the most profound things God is doing in the world right now is the opening of minds and hearts of believers to each other. There is a huge increase in awareness of the need for Christian unity, and the ecumenical movement over the last 50 years has gathered steam. It’s something profoundly differnet to anything that has gone on for over 1000 years in Christianity. It’s something of God’s doing and it’s good.
One of the real focuses is trying to get Christians together, but sometimes we mistake physcial togetherness with real unity. We think that being together and doing something together is unity. And we hold ecumenical events and think we are experienceing unity. But unity is more than physical togetherness.
The twelve disciples illustrate this for us perfectly. They were physically together with Christ for three years. That is as “ecumenical” as you can achieve, and yet there was no unity of the heart or mind between these men.
Scripture records that they argued among themselves as to who was the greatest. Two of them even approached Christ looking for priveliged position in the kingdom of God, much to the indignation of others. Their behaviour was like many in typical congregations around the world. Physical togetherness didn’t mean they were in unity.
We all know within ourselves that even in our own congregations that we have struggles and quarrels and differences of opinion. The physcial togetherness of our people in our services doesn’t mean there is unity there either.
Undoubtedly without the movement of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost there would not have been “one Church” but possibly 12 denominations right from the beginning.
What has happened with ecumenism has been good because it shows a turning of thoughts towards each other. Christ is building His Church. Now let us pray together that there is a movement of the Holy Spirit in our own hearts, and in our congregations, and in our cities, that will build a unity beyond anything we have known.
And one more thing. The restoration of biblical apostles and elders will aid and assists in the building of the type of unity we see in the Bible. Pray for that as well.
For more information on these topics, John Alley in his books has a great depth of resource available and I encourage you to take time to learn and immerse yourself there.