The Scriptural Foundation For Christian Unity -- By: Burnett T. Stafford

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 069:273 (Jan 1912)
Article: The Scriptural Foundation For Christian Unity
Author: Burnett T. Stafford


The Scriptural Foundation For Christian Unity1

Burnett T. Stafford

One morning in the Litchfield parsonage, the voice of Lyman Beecher was heard calling up the stairway: ‘‘Say, boys, what is the matter up there?” Thomas answered: “Father! Henry says God couldn’t make two hills without a valley between them.” Henry’s contention was sound. It simply means that God has fixed laws for the construction and government of His universe, and that it is, therefore, an orderly, reasonable, and reliable creation. Of course, this does not mean that for every manifestation of divine power the law is known; but, rather, that the lime of action is according to law, and with human progress will be discovered and explained. And this is not all there is to this fundamental matter. A law of matter or spirit discovered to-day, explains the movement of life in its zone of operation during all time and eternity. The scientific man stakes his soul and reputation on this truth.

Because law accurately marks the line of action which God takes to express His thought and emotion, the New Testament doctrine at once comes into clear view, that in the Incarnation He was purposely obedient to the laws of human condition and achievement. The intent and object of the Satanic assault in the wilderness was to persuade Our Lord

to remove from this position; when defeat came to the tempter he found himself face to face with a moral world of law possessed of orderly strength and durability. Christ often said that the Redemption of the world required that He fulfil all the demands of spiritual law. This was the way of victory for Him over the powers of death and hell. It is the only way of progress and victory, always and everywhere. Bacon puts it this way: “By obedience to the laws of nature and grace, we reap their reward.”

Our Lord told the disciples, as they were able to understand, that His gospel was for all the peoples of the world. The complete statement is the Great Commission. This postulated in His mind an organ of expression, for thought and emotion never do work until focalized and extended by organization. This is the way mien are reached and society is influenced. Again, His serious concern was that His followers should be perfected in the character originated and sustained by grace. This meant that they were to be under the reign of the law of love, and therefore must live in a mutually helpful relation. This called for organization. From the first of the public ministry, He announced that He would found and organize a Divine Society. There was the clear statement of this intention in the words commending St. Peter for saying that He was ...

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