It is forty years since the sad rift between evangelicals was sparked by an address on evangelical unity by Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones. Today I’m blogging some of the more pertinent parts of his appeal, confident that they raise issues for us today, issues that the forty years of sad disunity ought not to obscure.
MLJ went on to make a compelling case that it is only evangelicals who can really be guilty of schism. Any emphasis added to a quote is mine.
‘…schism is a division among members of the true invisible church about matters which are not sufficiently important to justify division.’
‘So I argue that people who do not believe the essentials of the faith, the things that are essential to salvation, cannot be guilty of schism. They are not in the church.’
‘You and I are evangelicals. We are agreed about these essentials of the faith and yet we are divided from one another. We meet like this, I know, in an occasional conference, but we spend most of our time apart from one another, and joined to and united with people who deny and are opposed to these essential matters of salvation. We spend our time with them. We have our visible unity with them. Now, I say, that is sinful.’
‘I am arguing that for us to be divided – we who are agreed about everything that really matters – for us to be divided from one another in the main tenor of our lives and for the bulk of our time, is nothing but to be guilty of the sin of schism. And we really must face this most urgently.’