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Causes of Disunity



OCTOBER 13, 2018




          “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John13:35. Interestingly, when Jesus speaks about His disciples will be recognized by the world, He doesn’t begin with agreement around a body of knowledge – as vital as that is to unity (Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? Amos 3:3).  So, if we want to look around, and determine who Christ’s true disciples are, we would be looking at how people relate to each other. How we treat each other?


          Love, at its root level, is putting the interests and needs and welfare ahead of oneself. In some way, shape, or form, it involves giving of oneself for the benefit or uplifting of another…“the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”  Ephesians5:25.  Loving equals giving.  And giving always incurs a cost – a cost to myself.


          The opposite of love then would be to “take”. To take from another for the benefit or uplifting of myself. It would be “taking” to serve my interests or needs or welfare, ahead of another.


          So, the fundamental character trait of Christ’s disciples – according to Him in John 13:35 – is that they give to one another in preference to their own wants and desires. This is the root of unity – and the antidote to disunity. At the root of all disunity is a preference for self-interest above and before the interest of others.


          This reality works best when both parties relate in this way towards each other. When only one party is the giver/lover, and the other is always the taker, relational breakdown occurs. Just as from God’s perspective, “God does not require us to give up anything that it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He does, He has the well-being of His children in view. . .  {SC 46.2}”, so in our interaction with others, in “love” we won’t endorse them in living in a way that won’t be for their well-being. “Love for one another” is manifested not merely in generosity and beneficence, but in speaking the truth in love.


This is where the truth of Amos 3:3 mentioned above comes in. To walk together, in love, there needs to be agreement regarding truth. If a fellow disciple were to say to you, “endorse, support, and celebrate” something in their lives that you know will ultimately in the scales of eternity lead to their being lost, the “loving” thing to do is to speak the truth to them in love.


Unfortunately, there are many who are speaking either truth without love, or love without truth. If you want to look at the “Causes of Disunity” around you – family, church, community, etc., you will find at their root they involve one of these two fallacies – love without truth or truth without love.


Whether there is division regarding authority, issues around ordination, doctrinal divisions, understandings of our history, etc., unity will come and disunity will dissipate when we move forward with love and truth.


Whether we want to confess it as a denomination or not, much of the current disunity can be traced back to a rejection of truth spoken in love by the prophet Ellen White and the two messengers with “heavenly credentials,” AT Jones and EJ Waggoner.  In reading the history, it is clear that while no man is perfect, Jones and Waggoner were “Christian gentlemen” who spoke the truth with love, and were endorsed by the prophet.


Had we accepted the message of 1888 – the message of truth spoken in love – or as it was repeatedly described by Ellen White – “the law and the gospel combined” – not only would the world have known that SDAs were Christ’s disciples by the love we have for one another, but “If those who claimed to have a living experience in the things of God had done their appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would have been warned ere this, and the Lord Jesus would have come in power and great glory.” {RH, October 6, 1896 par. 7}.


If we claim to be believers in the 1888 message, may we represent to the highest degree that we love one another. May we speak the truth in love. May we know what it means to combine the law and the gospel regarding ourselves and in our relations with others. May we represent Christ to the world as Christ represented God to us.


~ Bob Hunsaker