I get to hang out with Christian Case Makers all the time; at conferences, at staff meetings, and at locations across the country where I am asked to speak. Inevitably, our conversations turn to the kinds of things that apologists find themselves discussing. We talk about the newest scientific discoveries that impact the Christian worldview, the latest debate performances, the current iterations of classic arguments for the existence of God, and the best evidences. Once, while chatting between presentations at the Prepare the Way Christian Youth Summit, Stephen Williams (the director of Prepare the Way) talked about his partnership with a variety of churches. He’s been able to unify local groups in order to host and promote apologetics conferences for students. It can be incredibly rewarding, yet difficult work, bringing members of the Christian family together. As fallen humans, we are often more inclined to divide over areas of minor dissimilarity than unite over broader (and more significant) areas of agreement.
As we talked about this reality, an irony became evident. While we often struggle to come together in a unified way to talk about the evidence for God’s existence and the truth of the Christian worldview, we seem to miss the fact that the most important evidence for God’s existence (and the Deity of Christ) is our unity in the first place! As a speaker in conferences such as these (and as an attendee) I seldom deliver (or hear delivered) the important evidence related to unity. Jesus was, however, very clear about this: Our unity as Christians is the most important evidence we can offer to an unbelieving world:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
It’s interesting to note that Jesus is praying about us in this prayer. He’s talking to God about those who will hear about Him through the message of the eyewitnesses. That’s you and me (and a lot of other people who will hear about Jesus through the eyewitness gospel accounts). Of all the evidences we might offer to the skeptics around us, Jesus said that our ability to “be one,” to be united, will convince the world that Jesus is who He said He was. I spend a lot of time presenting evidence at conferences and appearances, but I seldom, if ever, point to Christian unity as one of these evidences. I bet your experience is similar.
Why are we so reluctant to articulate the power of unity as an evidence? Maybe it’s because so many of us are too busy finding reasons to disagree with (and divide from) our brothers and sisters in Christ. I know I have been guilty of this. While there are many essential Christian doctrines that unify us, I have sometimes chosen (in arrogance) to divide over non-essential personal preferences. Have you ever done that? Do you find yourself adding continually to your list of “essential” Christian truths that people must embrace before you will find them acceptable? As a Church, we often divide over things as simple as worship style. Really? If we care about making a case for the Christian worldview, it’s time that we follow Jesus’ lead. Let’s show the world that God exists and that He sent Jesus to save us by simply demonstrating our unity.