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The Strategic Imperative for Unity

By Editorial Staff
Published August 1, 1992

By John D. Beckett
Chairman of the Board, Intercessors for America

Last fall I attended a “solemn assembly” of pastors and church group leaders, based on a pattern found in Joel 2. During the three days of the assembly, which was accompanied by fasting and much prayer, reconciliation took place and many damaged relationships were restored.

More recently, several from this assembly regathered, this time on a site overlooking the juncture of two of Ohio’s beautiful rivers. Exactly 175 years earlier to the day, a hearty pioneer had arrived by horseback from New England and decided these rivers provided the ideal location for a frontier settlement, and a town was born. With one heart and voice, we lifted up strong prayers for the area, asking God to displace spiritual strongholds and flood our community with His grace and mercy.

I see an important link between the solemn assembly and our territorial prayers. We needed right relationships to pray effectively. Our impact was rooted in our unity. But such unity is only beginning in our area. Satan has successfully used his time-tested arsenal of accusation, deception, turf-building and outright lies to divide and weaken us. He knows that a divided house cannot stand. He trembles at the prospect of a Church that is walking in submission to the Head and in love and forgiveness with each other. I believe this is why the New Testament makes clear that unity is not an option.

Our first encounter in the Scriptures with the early Church is at a prayer meeting, where they were all together in one accord. This was the context into which the Holy Spirit was poured out. Later we see them breaking bread from house to house, taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart. They enjoyed each other’s company.

Paul continually urged unity among believers, emphasizing that by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body. He admonished us to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body is fitted and held together. He exhorted us to agree, that there be no divisions among us, and that we be made complete in the same mind. He pressed the men to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. He described a Church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle. I once heard a pastor remind us the Lord is coming back for a beautiful bride, not a nagging wife!

Peter said that all should be harmonious, sympathetic. He spoke of us as living stones, being built up into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood. James urged us to confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that we might be healed.

So compelling was the idea of unity that Jesus petitioned His Father that his followers might all be one, even as He and the Father were one. He spoke of the power that would be released through a united church: “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” The Greek word translated “agree” is sumpheneo, literally to sound together, or be in harmony. From this root we get the word symphony. Sumpheneo is so essential in a fine orchestra that a skilled conductor will detect even a single note that is out of place and speak firmly to the errant musician.

Our Heavenly Father is the conductor of the earthly orchestra called the Church. Whether it’s a duet, a small ensemble, or a full-scale symphony, He wants us in harmony. Only then will we produce the clear sound that engages the energy of heaven itself, which in turn will change the destiny of communities and nations. This is the strategic imperative for unity.


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Why Creeds and Confessions? (Book)

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Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy

Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.

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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

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A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner

The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

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Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

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Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.

Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.

Watch these pro-life videos on-line.

“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California

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The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!

Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)

Running Time: 145 minutes

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