In Part 1, we introduced the three levels of the unity of the Spirit that were present in the early church. To recap:
Three distinct "levels" of unity of the Holy Spirit as found in Acts 2:42-47 are:
Level 1 – LCD (Lowest Common Denominator)
"They continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers" (Acts 2:42).
Level 2 – Signs & Wonders
"Fear came to every soul. And many wonders and signs were done through the apostles" (Acts 2:43).
Level 3 – A lifestyle of mutual support and sharing all things
"All who believed were together and had all things in common. They sold their property and goods and distributed them to all, according to their need. And continuing daily with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:44-47).
In each part of this series we are considering one of the following questions about each level of unity of the Spirit:
- What does this level of unity look like in the church?
- What conditions are necessary for this level of unity to exist in the church?
- How can the church enter in/rise to this level of unity?
- What responsibilities do church pastors & clergy have to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in His work of unity at this level?
In Part 2, we looked at Level 1 unity and Question A.
The second question for Level 1 unity:
- What conditions are necessary for Level 1 unity to exist in the church?
As noted previously in Part 1, in addition to the four LCD elements of true Christianity, all Christian sects believe all the tenets of the faith expressed in the Nicene Creed as laid out by the councils of Nicaea & Constantinople in the fourth century A.D.
In practice, the first element of Level 1 unity—fundamental Christian doctrine—is embedded in this creed as the core faith statement. Counterfeit Christian groups do not adhere to or believe this core faith profession. From this we arrive at the necessary condition for (minimal) authentic Christianity as an answer to question B:
The necessary and sufficient condition for Level 1 Unity is: adherence to the fundamental tenets of faith of the Nicene Creed (NC).
That is, if a group of believers holds to the tenets of the Nicene Creed, then it will exhibit Level 1 unity; and conversely, a group that exhibits Level 1 unity will adhere to the NC tenets.
This is the result not of a logical proposition but a spiritual one. "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God" (1 John 4:2-3).
The key phrase "has come in the flesh" embodies the full gospel of Jesus Christ, from His co-equality with God the Father, to His conception, birth, death, resurrection and ascension and redemption of man. So any doctrine about Jesus Christ that denies any aspect of this gospel is not of God but the evil one. Many such heresies over the years have come and gone and come again.
This suggests that one doesn't have to be 'saved' according to a specific formula; but rather believe in and confess the tenets of faith (NC). We won't address the corollary truth that one who "believes in" will indeed live by that belief.
A church of those that believe and accepts all the tenets of faith will exhibit Level 1 unity of the Spirit.
Next time we will consider the third of the four questions about Level 1 unity:
How can the church enter in/rise to this level of unity?
Louis Posthauer is the executive director of Hunters of the Harvest Ministry. He has been actively involved in the local church for more than 37 years and currently serves as a lay leader and teacher at Living Word Church of the Nazarene in Houston. For more information, visit huntersoftheharvest.org.
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