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Unity and Maturity

In the past few years I’ve often been asked to speak or write on the topics of discernment and Christian maturity. I’ve also been asked to discuss the ways Christian communicate using all of these amazing new media available to us. In both cases I’ve found myself drawn to a quote by John Stott. This comes from his excellent commentary on Ephesians and here he discusses the well-known words of Ephesians 4:15 where the apostle calls us to speak truth in love. Stott aptly describes two different kinds of people.

Thank God there are those in the contemporary church who are determined at all costs to defend and uphold God’s revealed truth. But sometimes they are conspicuously lacking in love. When they think they smell heresy, their nose begins to twitch, their muscles ripple, and the light of battle enters their eye. They seem to enjoy nothing more than a fight. Others make the opposite mistake. They are determined at all costs to maintain and exhibit brotherly love, but in order to do so are prepared even to sacrifice the central truths of revelation. Both these tendences are unbalanced and unbiblical. Truth becomes hard if it is not softened by love; love becomes soft if it is not strengthened by truth. The apostle calls us to hold the two together, which should not be difficult for Spirit-filled believers, since the Holy Spirit is himself ‘the spirit of truth,’ and his first fruit is ‘love.” There is no other route than this to a fully mature Christian unity.