An Immodest Proposal for Pursuing Peace and Purity in the Body of Christ: A Plea for Reformed Catholicity -- By: Rich Lusk

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 13:1 (Winter 2004)
Article: An Immodest Proposal for Pursuing Peace and Purity in the Body of Christ: A Plea for Reformed Catholicity
Author: Rich Lusk


An Immodest Proposal for Pursuing
Peace and Purity in the Body of Christ:
A Plea for Reformed Catholicity1

Rich Lusk

Reformed Suspicions

Reformed Christians are usually suspicious of any talk of unity among Christians of differing doctrinal convictions, yet the pursuit of peace and unity among believers is a high priority in the New Testament (Hebrews 12:14; Ephesians 4:1–6; Philippians 2:1–4; John 17:21; Romans 12:17–21). Biblically, we are obligated to strive for an orthodox ecumenism that will recognize all professing believers as brothers in the Lord, while excluding all known unbelievers (even if they call themselves “Christians” yet are not—cf. Revelation 2:9; 3:9). In other words, the boundaries of our fellowship must be as wide as the kingdom itself, but no wider. We ought to be as ecumenical as God himself is, for who are we to reject someone the Lord has accepted (Galatians 2:11ff; Romans 14:4)? The oneness of God demands that he have one people, one Church (John 10:16; Ephesians 2:14ff; Galatians 3:15ff). This pursuit of unity must take place at all levels—individual, familial, institutional/denominational, even international. Christians in different positions of leadership in the Church will have different responsibilities in reuniting the Church and restoring peace, but it is a task that all who name the name of Christ are called to undertake.

Genuine love, peace, unity, and fellowship are central to biblical Christianity. The gospel not only forgives sins; it creates a new community, a renewed human race. God’s goal is not just a bunch of redeemed individuals, but a redeemed community, worshiping, living, and growing together. Interestingly, the New Testament never mentions “Christianity,” as if biblical religion were an abstraction, or a mere ideology, or an “-ism” of some sort.2 The Bible’s continual focus is on the concrete community of saints, united with Christ. The biblical images of the Church are always corporate (e.g., flock, city, stones in God’s temple, members of Christ’s body, new creat...

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