(One’s level of piety, whether devotional or practical, depends much on knowledge being either learned or misconceived. In these analyses we have made mention, occasionally, of books that either help or hinder the grand object of piety. It seems natural, consequently, to supplement the analyses, now and again, with correlating book reports.)
GABOURY’s CRITICAL BOOK REPORT
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Basis of Christian Unity (1962;
Eerdmans, 1978), 64 pp. Grand Rapids, Michigan
“It is a sheer waste of time to discuss or debate the implications of Christianity with people who are not agreed as to what Christianity is. Failure to realize this constitutes the very essence of the modern confusion” (p. 63.) These two mini expositions, of John 17 and Ephesians 4, calmly show the error of today’s ecumenical push. “Unity is…the consequence of our belief and acceptance of this great and glorious doctrine of God who has provided in His Son the way of salvation, and who mediates it to us through the operation of the Holy Spirit. That is the basis and the nature of Christian unity” (p. 33), not “doctrinal indifferentism and the exaltation of a spirit of inclusivism and practical co-operation” (pp. 51, 52.) This ‘niceness’ or ‘politeness’ is not found in the New Testament, “not even in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself” (p. 54.)
There is no aim to get unity in John 17, but to keep it. The prayer of Jesus is that God would “keep the unity that He, through His preaching, has already brought into existence among these people” (p. 12.) And “the key to the whole exposition of chapter 4 [of Ephesians] is the word ‘therefore’ in verse 1. It points us back to the first three chapters of this great Epistle, and emphasizes the fact that the theme of unity is something which follows as a consequence of what has gone before” (pp. 17, 18.) The apostle “does not start with unity and then proceed to doctrine; he takes up unity because he has already laid down his doctrine” (p. 18.) Modern ecumenism does the reverse, and therefore has no basis in truth. “There is no unity to be pursued apart from truth and doctrine, and it is departure from this that causes division and breaks unity” (p. 50.)
Surely history has shown us that the Roman Catholic Church’s only ‘notion of unity’ is “absorption into her institution and organization” (p. 1.) The ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ of hers is not the same as ours. One Lord means there is no ‘co-redemptrix.’ One faith means there is no justification by ‘baptismal regeneration’ and ‘transmissible grace.’ One baptism means “the mystical union which is symbolized by that act” (pp. 29-31.)
Those who look down upon the separated parts of God’s Church really need to pick up The Basis of Christian Unity and deal humbly with its message. It is the hot pursuit after a unity condemned by the Lord and Scripture that is the real cause of schism. This anti-biblical vision is closely connected to, or part of, 'The New Evangelicalism.' Though it is not called that as such in here, that trend is identified and corrected on pages 51 and 53. ‘Don’t judge’ is its familiar, out of context, motto. If this little green booklet seems too slight to put confidence in, then the reader should seek out Lloyd-Jones’ full exposition of John 17 or his massive exposition of Ephesians.
Content: A (What Christian unity really is.)
Style: A (A clear presentation.)
Tone: A (A noble stand.)
Grading Table: A: a keeper: reread it; promote it; share it.
B: an average book: let it go.
C: read only if you have to.