FREEPORT, Fla. (BNc) — The Freeport church responded to a letter by denominational pastors appealing for unity with an article in the Defuniak Herald Oct. 25.

The paid article was written by Eric Farrior, preacher with the Freeport congregation, located in the Florida panhandle.

Eric explained that “several local denominational church leaders in our area apologized for division (which they are still causing) and wanted all ‘denominations’ to work together for Christ. The problem is, you cannot possibly be working for Christ when you teach false doctrine!”

From that premise, the church published the following article in the newspaper.

We, at the church of Christ in Freeport, appreciate the acknowledgement of the sinfulness of division from all who took part in the letter the various “leaders” of denominational churches wrote in the Defuniak Herald Newspaper. We also appreciate the sincerity of the letter. We felt obligated to write in regards to this in hopes that true unity could come… Please understand that no offense is intended by this, that is not our intention, rather we are “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). We are not your enemies for telling the truth (Gal. 4:16)—Please consider the following with diligent study (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15)—

  • The basic premise behind this letter we applaud— The thought of true religious unity is a wonderful thought indeed. However, unity will never come as long as man allows himself to lead his life, rather, it will only come thru diligent study of the basis of faith (Rom. 10:17), the word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17) proper handling of it (2 Tim. 2:15b) and living in accordance to it (Ps. 119:105)— False doctrine is to be “hated” (Ps. 119:104) and exposed (Eph. 5:11) so that souls may be saved (Jms. 1:21ff)—the only way we can be united is by studying and obeying the teaching of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:3), which is the word of God (Jn. 6:63) and conforming our lives to that teaching- To look to His word for authority in all we do (Col. 3:17)

  • This letter implies that each denomination mentioned at the bottom is part of the church of Christ- However, this is not possible. Paul commanded via inspiration, that Christians “all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Cor. 1:10)—Many denominations claim that all “churches” are part of Christ’s church if they confess Christ as Lord—however, that was said to be false by Christ Himself—And why call ye me Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say? (Lk. 6:46)—You see, you cannot truthfully call Christ Lord while living in disobedience to His word (cf. Jn. 14:15)—If Christ’s doctrine is not abided in, there is no relationship with God, period (cf. 2 Jn. 9) If you really want unity, why not do as the Lord instructed, so that we all “speak the same things”?

  • This letter was signed by the “clergy”- This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of scripture- The “clergy”, “Laity” system is based upon false pretenses…. Peter used “laos” for “people” in 1 Pet. 2:9 (where the word “laity” comes from) referencing CHRISTIANS, calling them a royal priesthood— He also used “kleros” for “heritage” in 1 Pet. 5:3 (where the word “clergy” comes from) speaking about the same group, Christians are God’s heritage (Acts 26:18)— Both terms refer to the same people according to God’s word. If you really want religious unity, call bible things by bible names.

  • “Walking together”- You desire to “walk together”, yet inspiration says “Can two walk together unless they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)—Enoch and Noah “walked with God” (Gen. 5:22, 6:9)—How did they do this? They faithfully obeyed Him (cf. Heb. 11:5,7)—The children of Israel (in order to please God) were to “walk in His ways” (Deut. 11:22)—Now, how can all of these various denominations that signed this letter walk together if all teach different doctrines? If the Baptist doctrine is obeyed, what does one become, a Methodist? If one follows the Presbyterian doctrine, will he become a member of the Holiness church? If the bible is obeyed, one becomes a Christian, plain and simple. (cf. Acts 2:38-47, 11:26) If you really want unity, cling to truth ONLY as our guide, not manmade creeds.

  • Unity in truth- Unity can only come thru truth, and God’s word is truth (Jn. 17:17)—In the same chapter the Lord affirmed that sanctification comes through truth (vv17,19)—Therefore only those who faithfully obey truth are sanctified from all the others (1 Cor. 6:11, cf. Titus 2:14)—And only those who abide in the truth are pleasing to God (cf. Rom. 8:1,4; 1 Jn. 1:6ff)—If you really want unity abide in the doctrine of Christ, otherwise there can be none (cf. Rom. 16:17) as man’ s wisdom is vain (Prov. 16:25) and presumption is deadly (cf. Num. 14:44)

  • We are called through the gospel- God calls through His gospel (2 Thes. 2:14)—Since that is the case, we are all called by one gospel, one system of faith (Eph. 4:5) into one body/church (Eph. 4:4, cf. 1:22,23)—Denominational doctrine will not put you in the Lord’s church (cf. Eph. 5:26)—Since this is true, your statement regarding denominational differences as being something “overlooked” (by implication from “in spite”) by God is false—God does not overlook division and presumption (1 Cor. 1:11, 2 Pet. 2:10), rather He demands that we humble ourselves and submit to His will, which He revealed thru His word (Jms. 4:6, 2 Pet. 1:3)- The Bible does not teach “unity in diversity”, rather it teaches unity through humble submission to God’s word, as that is our standard (Jn. 12:48, Eph. 4:3)—If you really want unity, put away the doctrines of men and cling to Christ and His doctrine, as this is the only way (cf. Rom. 1:16,17)

Please consider the things in this response to their letter…. No offense is intended toward any by it, rather we love you all enough to tell you the truth—- We would love to discuss this with any of you, please feel free to email or call—We pray that honest hearts will receive the word (cf. Lk. 8:11,15)—

In His service,

The church of Christ in Freeport