“The unity of the church is not primarily the unity of her members, but the unity of Christ who acts upon them all, in all places, at all times. Consequently the unity of the church lies in his uniting activity.”Juregn Moltman, The Church in the Power of the Spirit.
“The unity of the congregation is a unity in freedom. It must not be confused with unanimity, let alone uniformity in perception, feeling or morals. No one must be regimented, or forced into conformity with conditions prevailing in the church. Everyone must be accepted with their gifts, tasks, weakness and handicaps. This unity is evangelical unity, not a legal one.Juregn Moltman, The Church in the Power of the Spirit.
The universal church must develop local structures but to the degree that they distinguish or divide rather than unite, to that degree they deny Christ. Each and every Christian, all churches, and even all of humanity will find its unity “in Christ.”Dr. Scott Sunquist, Ministry in the Image of God.
Similar to objective freedom received as a gift from God, flowing from the nature of God, unity is a gift we receive. Those who are in Christ are graced with divine participation in this thing called unity. We are no longer separate, divided, but made whole with Creator under the loving reign of Christ. Our goal then, as it pertains to expressions of unity here on earth, is to live into this reality among fellow sojourners. This should be an easy exercise for those who call Jesus Lord. However, history has shown us just the opposite. When unity is anything other than a gift found through believing Jesus, and lowered to the formation of human thoughts or actions, its division, not unity that abounds.
We need only to study the Reformation period to witness the travesty of pursued unity through the means of religion. What was intended to bring unity, brought the fullest expression of division the world has experienced within Christendom.
Structures divided, Jesus unites. Doctrine by nature distinguishes, but can never bring life. Jesus is Way, Truth and Life. The prayer of Jesus in John 17 was towards experienced participation within the existing union between the Father & Son. There is something much deeper, much more glorious than agreeing with one another or other forms of tribalism. We can only truly share with others what we are experiencing in the present. Called out, from the world, but for the purpose of being placed back into and for. We are united as we are enjoying the Triune nature of God and participating in His sending, reconciling heart.