Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing – life forevermore.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
1 Corinthians 3:4:
For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?
1 Corinthians 11:19:
For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved might be recognized among you.
The Lamb’s book of life does not have separate sections for Baptists, Nazarenes, Assemblies of God, Church of God, etc.. Everyone in it is simply a Christian in God’s eyes, and so it should be in our eyes. Rather than telling someone you’re a Baptist, Pentecostal, etc. if someone asks what “religion” you are, it would be better to identify yourself as a Christian.
It would also help to see certain brothers and sisters as Christians who attend a Baptist church rather than as “Baptists.” God did not invent denominations; man did – there is still only one Body of Christ. That is why we are not truly “independent” even though we are non-denominational. We go out of our way to fellowship with other churches in Maine that want to see people born again. The Body of Christ needs all its members; no local body has everything that everyone needs.
God wants all Christians to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This does not mean unity of the doctrine, which just isn’t going to happen this side of heaven. I have friends with different opinions from mine on whether the rapture will precede the tribulation, follow it, or come in the middle of it. I have friends with different opinions from mine on choreographed worship dancing, banner waving and giving “clap offerings” to God. I have friends who would not agree with me in a discussion of “spiritual warfare” or “prophetic evangelism.” I’ve had good fellowship with people who don’t believe in the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. We can keep the unity of the Spirit without agreeing on every point. I’ve been really blessed going to meetings where dozens of Christian leaders are getting together in Maine, some of whom speak in tongues and some of whom don’t. According to Psalm 133, God commands the blessing in the place of unity.
However, unity does not mean the “let all our brains fall out” kind of unity that various councils of churches seek. It certainly does not mean banding together to glorify things God calls sin under the pretense of “diversity.” (There will be a lot of diversity in hell, but everyone in heaven will be a Christian!) Light cannot fellowship with darkness. It’s pointless to try to “fellowship” with phony Christians from pseudo-Christian organizations that do not believe that Jesus Christ is, and always has been, God, even if their building declares itself to be a church or temple or kingdom hall. Church splits are normally not good, but if a group gets saved in a “church” that does not teach people that they must be born again, they should split from that fake church and attend a real one! But the people who attend real ones should strive for peace and harmony with each other and with all other real local churches rather than magnifying their differences.