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Thoughts on Unity and Integrity

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August 29, 2010 Tags: Christian Unity

Today's entry was written by Kathryn Applegate. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Thoughts on Unity and Integrity

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

- Ephesians 4:3-6

“Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness,” wrote C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain. He went on, “Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering.” God, the very source of love, isn’t merely kind to us—he is zealous for the purity and integrity of his people.

As such, followers of Jesus are zealous for purity and integrity of God’s people, not just in matters of morality but in the life of the mind as well. We make much of God when we try to understand how he speaks through the natural world, as well as in his written word.

Today, as we stop to worship and find our rest in the finished work of Christ, let us celebrate the unity we share in Him. As believers we don’t have uniformity in all opinions and convictions. But the unity we share is founded in a love that supersedes mere kindness—the costly love of the Son who gave up his life for his friends.

Through the Spirit of Christ, we experience a love so deep that it is zealous for the purity and integrity of the hearts and minds of all God’s people. True unity is only experienced through a spirit of love. And real love means striving for the best in each other, with humility and patience.


Kathryn Applegate is Program Director at The BioLogos Foundation. She received her PhD in computational cell biology at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. At Scripps, she developed computer vision software tools for analyzing the cell's infrastructure, the cytoskeleton.


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John VanZwieten - #27446

August 29th 2010

Thanks, Kathryn!

As challenging as it can be, striving for unity in the body is at the center of living in a way that’s worthy of the gospel itself.


merv - #27449

August 29th 2010

I also liked C.S. Lewis’ picture of an essential unity (I think in ‘Mere Christianity’)  He describes a large house with a central hall and many different rooms off that hallway.  People find warmth and fellowship in specific rooms; perhaps by the fireside in one room, or around a table in another.  Nobody settles down in the central hallway as a place to stay. 

Lewis, who was loath to show any denominational favoritism likens his own role as trying to invite folks in out of the rain.  If they came in at all, he had done his job and was not much interested in what room they choose to settle in.

—Merv


like a child - #27477

August 29th 2010

Great post Kathryn


Bilbo - #27487

August 29th 2010

Kathryn:  Through the Spirit of Christ, we experience a love so deep that it is zealous for the purity and integrity of the hearts and minds of all God’s people. True unity is only experienced through a spirit of love. And real love means striving for the best in each other, with humility and patience.

Do you think you have represented Behe’s views with integrity?  I’m sorry, but I don’t think you have.  And since you think we should be zealous for the integrity of fellow believers, I’m afraid I must upbraid you for your lack of integrity.  Please correct me, if you think I am mistaken.


Scott Mapes - #27681

August 31st 2010

Bilbo:  I do not think it is a lack of integrity to interpret someone’s views differently than someone else might.  No animosity nor spiritual disunity need be intended when there are scholarly differences.  This type of idyllic accord you apear to expect requires absolute perfection in understanding, which I do not believe is possible this side of heaven.  Yes, this perfection is our goal, but “we have this treasure in jars of clay” (2 Corin. 4:7).  So unity is possible even in the midst of intense disagreement—whether everyone wants to be “united” or not.  (Apologies to my independent church friends for that playful “jab” on my part!)


Bilbo - #27758

September 1st 2010

testing


Bilbo - #27759

September 1st 2010

Perhaps you’re right, Scott.  Perhaps I’m being too idyllic.  I thought it was rather clear what Behe’s contentions were.  And I thought Kathryn misrepresented them.  But I could be wrong on both points.


Bilbo - #27761

September 1st 2010

BTW, I brought all this up once in a comment at Kathryn’s last thread on the bacterial flagellum.  I wouldn’t have mentioned it again, but since she decided to preach on the importance of being zealous about integrity….


Trevor K. - #27789

September 2nd 2010

Dear Kathryn,

Loving God is Good - he asks asks to do that numerous times. Loving our fellow human beings is also good - that is also a requirement stated many times in the bible.

Where I differ from your point of view as I see it is that you have been indoctrinated fully into the science of evolution and deep time and are now trying to incorporate that into your belief in God as found in the Judeo-Christian bible.

My impression is that you [and anyone else who believes in evolution] are forming or have formed an image of God that I do not see reflected in the bible. My understanding is that God created/creates instantaneously by the spoken word and has no need to use a slow, painful death-filled process to do so.
Why do I bring this up here?
Simply because I believe it’s the loving thing to do: As I see it you are denying God’s glory by taking away from Him the power and ability of instantaneous creation and instead imputing to Him the slow random plodding and mistake-filled process of evolution.

Good luck with reconciling the two.


Bilbo - #27859

September 2nd 2010

Trevor:  Simply because I believe it’s the loving thing to do: As I see it you are denying God’s glory by taking away from Him the power and ability of instantaneous creation and instead imputing to Him the slow random plodding and mistake-filled process of evolution.

Good luck with reconciling the two.

I’m in the same boat with Kathryn on this one.  I agree with you that there are problems reconciling God’s goodness with a billion year process of animal pain and suffering.  But the evidence strongly suggests that is what we must try to do.  Thanks for the good wishes.


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