A friend recently asked me to listen to a podcast on Christian Unity by Kris Vallorton that posed the question, “Does it matter that we hold contradictory truths? Isn’t the important thing that we all have one Spirit?”
Vallorton asserted “Conformity is not Unity”. He went on to say that we don’t need to agree about doctrine because it is the Spirit that lives within us gives us unity and that same Spirit gives us various gifts in the body of Christ.
He believes that Christians should come together with their various gifts and ideas in a beautiful symphony that sings out to our God. He believes it takes all of us to understand God’s fullness.
It was a poetic thought that elicited lots of passionate”amen”s from his audience, but there is a major fallacy in his assertion. He merged two separate concepts. The Holy Spirit indeed gives us different GIFTS for how we FUNCTION together in the body of Christ. There is truly a glorious symphony in that!
But Truth cannot contradict itself.
Contradictions about Truth creates cacophony, not symphony.
Paul wrote “Let there be no division in the church. Rather be of one mind, united in thought and purpose”.
It doesn’t take all of us to understand God’s fullness. God reveals his truth to us. And he has revealed the fullness of the faith in His One, Holy and Catholic Church.
We can be “on fire for God” and still be misguided about the truth. Jesus never said that truth would be known by “what I feel in my spirit”. Jesus made it clear how we know truth: He gave his authority to the apostles and he said, “whoever hears you, hears me, whoever rejects you, rejects me”.
Vallorton claimed that Ephesians 4 tells us we don’t need to worry about doctrine. Actually, the book of Ephesians is filled with confirmation that the Church has the AUTHORITY to speak ONE truth.
Affirms the authority of oral apostolic preaching and discipline (1:17; 4:7-15, 21; 6:19-20)
• Affirms apostolic/Church authority over lay believers (1:1; 3:4-5; 4:7-15)
• Affirms apostolic succession (4:11-16)
• Affirms the Catholic view of the Church as one, holy, apostolic, and sacramental in nature (1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:2-3, 6, 10; 4:3-6)-The Visible, Hierarchical, Apostolic Church
Jesus gave his authority to the apostles. Here’s what the apostles themselves said about their authority:
Peter warned of destructive heresies introduced by those who teach without the proper authority:
Peter taught that “no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pet. 1:20–21)
He went on to warn about those who taught without authority: “There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pet. 2:1).
Peter wrote that twisting scripture can lead to destruction, “There are some things in Paul’s letters that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:16).
Scripture even provides evidence that the early Christians recognized the apostles’ authority. Paul wrote, “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you” (1 Cor. 11:2).- Authority to Teach
So, yes! We have diversity in how we function in the body of Christ so our roles and gifts don’t have to conform to those around us.
But regarding what we believe we are to be conformed with no divisions, united in thought and purpose.
There are many gifts. But only One Lord. One Faith. One baptism.