What's More Important than Together?
Psalm 133 is one of my favorite passages on unity. The psalmist writes,
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
Now the symbolism of oil and dew is significant — it has meaning — but for the moment let me just connect the beginning with the end. “It is good and pleasant when God’s people live together in unity for there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”
Far too often Jesus-followers are willing to set aside unity for something “more important.” Sometimes our denominations are “more important.” Sometimes our music is “more important.” Sometimes building our own congregations is “more important.”
But it seems like most often, we find that doctrinal differences are “more important.” Am I saying that doctrine is not important? Of course not. What we believe about Christ; about salvation by faith; about the Bible; these things matter. But should every doctrinal difference divide us? Jesus commanded us to love each other and even went so far as to say that “love” would be our brand. If we break a specific command in the pursuit of truth — aren’t we still disobedient?
Anyway, if you have the time — about 90 minutes — watch this video. About a year ago John Piper stirred up the unity pot by inviting Rick Warren to speak at his conference. For those of you, unaware of the controversy, those who follow Piper are not ardent supports of Warren. They weren’t really living together in unity. But this video gives me hope, and increases my respect for both of them. I believe that God is and will pour our life through their unity.