From Voice, Nov/Dec 2013. Used by permission. (Read part 1.)
Churches that take the Lord’s instruction in Ephesians 4 seriously will be the ones marching in the direction of maturity (Ephesians 4:13). Those who do not, will find themselves drowning in a sea of immaturity (4:14). These are the two options Paul lays before his readers. The first option finds the local church being equipped by the teaching of the Word and in turn building up the body of Christ. Such churches will be marked by four things.
First, unity: “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith.” Throughout the epistles the term “the faith” does not refer to subjective faith (e.g. “I believe; I have faith in God”) but to objective truth. “The faith” is a phrase synonymous with sound doctrine, or the body of truth as taught in the Bible. True unity is grounded in correct theology.
A certain pastor, in writing a critique of my ministry, said that he “leaned toward unity but you lean toward purity.” That may be a true evaluation, but I do not believe there is unity without purity. An attempt at unity without doctrinal purity is merely uniformity. Many today are willing to lay down their conviction of Scriptural truth in order to get along. Organizations are built under the umbrella of minimal beliefs but at the cost of great compromise, which leads to the doctrinal impurity of the church. While not all doctrinal beliefs are essential to the faith, and some are not hills worth dying on, I am amazed at what many are willing to jettison in order to embrace some form of outward unity. Paul, however, calls for a unity that is wrapped around the cardinal truths of the faith. Read more about Building Up the Body: Four Marks of Maturing Churches