Is Unity-in-Diversity Approved of God?

Man says that we can have unity in religion despite wide differences in doctrinal beliefs. What does God say?
God does say that brethren should dwell in unity: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1). The desire of everyone who claims to love Jesus should be to dwell in unity. Abraham is an example of one who worked hard to keep unity among his servants and the servants of Lot, his nephew, when the land and watering holes were too small for all the livestock. Abraham generously allowed Lot to have first choice of the land: “…If thou will take the left hand, then I will take the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left” (Genesis 13:9). Abraham is certainly a wonderful example of one who is: Endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace”! (Ephesians 4:3). In matters of preference, opinion and expediency we should be willing to yield and put others before ourselves (Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3-8). In true matters of differences in conscience each of us should consider the other out of love for that precious soul (Romans 14:1-23; 15:1-4; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; 10:23-33). Yielding to get along on personal matters is being like Jesus; it is a first principle requirement of being a Christian (Matthew 7:12). People should act like adults and respect the personal differences in likes and dislikes, differences in race, differences in custom, etc., in other people and yield– so long as they do not violate matters of “faith.” I’ll say that again: We should dwell together and agree to get along on matters of personal differences, but not in matters of faith. Here is where the idea of unity-in-diversity departs from the teaching of the Scriptures; God does not expect His people to simply “overlook” and pretend to be in unity over differences in matters of faith or doctrines of the New Testament!
There is a difference in unity and union. For example, you can tie two cats tails together and you can have union, but I don’t think any reader who knows cats would say you would have unity! Unity goes beyond just dwelling together. Unity does mean dwelling together in peace, but it also means dwelling together in agreement and being of the same mind on both matters of judgment and doctrine–matters of faith.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
Followers of Christ are to speak the same things and there must be no divisions among them. The local church at Corinth had not been established long before they started having divisions of all kinds. The letter to the Corinthians cites divisions in preference of preachers, the overlooking of sins, taking brethren to courts of law, marriage, conscience, appearances in worship of men and women, disorders in observing the Lord’s Supper and in the use of spiritual miraculous gifts, and false teachings about the resurrection of the dead. None of these divisions were acceptable it was matter of personal differences or differences over matters of faith!
Before Jesus died for our sins on the cross, He prayed for unity and oneness among future believers “…so the world would know that the Father had sent Him” (John 17:21-23). The difference in teachings of the manmade denominations such as Catholics and Methodist, just to name a couple of groups, are in violation of the prayer of Jesus! In fact, their very existence is a violation of the teachings of Jesus, but that is another matter. Someone says: “Well, they do get along; they just don’t worship together.” I’m not talking about being peaceful with one another, I’m talking about the matter of agreeing to overlook differences in doctrines without efforts to come to the truth of the matter. For example, many Methodist churches allow women preachers, why don’t other groups protest instead of overlooking the matter? (1 Corinthians 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:11,12). We cannot simply “agree to disagree” when it comes to matters of faith. While religious people think they are doing the world a favor by pretending to be the same in doctrine, the world sees them for what they are! Jesus does not want a fake unity, He wants everyone to follow the same teachings found only in the New Testament concerning how to be saved, how to worship and organize the work of the church. The doctrines of men cause worship to be done in vain! (Mark 7:7).
The congregations of Christ all were directed to teach the same things (1 Corinthians 4:16,17; 16:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:14,15). When a teacher arose who taught doctrines differing from apostolic teachings, they were to be marked, avoided and rejected! (Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10). When a congregation departed from the truth of the gospel even in one matter of faith, they were sternly warned and corrected by the apostles!
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-9).
What mans says about a divided Christian faith and what Christ and His apostles say about the matter are two very different things. With whom will you agree? Let us all work to answer the prayer of Jesus to be one in the full Biblical sense: “Endeavoring to keep the spirit of unity in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Let us throw off the shackles of manmade creeds, covenants, disciplines and handbooks and follow only the inspired writings preserved in the New Testament to forever guide those who would follow Jesus into His truth (Philippians 4:9; 2 John: 9-11; Revelation 22:18,19).

Cite this article as: Michael Baggett, "Is Unity-in-Diversity Approved of God?," in Answering Religious Error, March 14, 2016,
Is Unity-in-Diversity Approved of God?