The general idea is that the exclusivity of Christianity must carry with it some level of uniformity. What about denominations? The querying mind seeks to find reasons to the numerous belief systems that have caused separation in the Christian faith. To be able to address this truth-searching question properly, we must first answer this basic question: Does unity mean uniformity?
Does UNITY mean UNIFORMITY?
A man visited a park in Lugansk, Ukraine (I read in an article). He felt something was not right about the place. You feel like you are out in nature but not really, he said. Finally, he succeeded in finding the mystery behind the weird feelings. The park was an artificial forest that had all the trees lined up in an odd fashion! Total disappointment. I can bet he imagined an endless array of trees with their numerous branches, and a myriad leaves, and roots all growing according to the course of nature.
Unity is achievable regardless of Uniformity; I personally believe it. You don’t necessarily need to be uniform in structure or style to attain unity. Observe creation closely. In the wide domain of nature, we are sure to find no two things to be same. No two faces. No two fingerprints. Not even two snowflakes! All around us, we see highly diversified forms of life with the substantial evidence of unity in diversity. The uniqueness of this possibility mirrors the expressive nature of the great God who is Himself united in diversity— talk about the mysterious concept of the Trinity that portrays His oneness in unity and three-ness in diversity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit who is co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial, and each being God, whole and entire.
Unity is the state of combining into one, as of the parts of a whole; singleness; harmony; the state of being in one accord; unification. Uniformity is overall sameness; homogeneity; regularity; not varying in colour, texture, design or degree; conforming to one principle, standard, or rule. Let me illustrate this with a simple example:
Two people closely examine an orange. One man says it is a fruit. The other man says it is a rounded-figure. Both produce facts to prove the authenticity of their claims. Uniformity says the men must be same in thought with no varying ideas. That is the rule. Unity presents a rather bigger platform. It appreciates open-mindedness. It encourages variety. It presents a glorious opportunity for a potential union between the various ideas.
It does not end there. Take note and this is very important. There is a vast difference between form and substance (or essence). Having varied ideas or forms may be acceptable. Touch not the substance! I use the words may be because not all forms submit to the authority of the substance in question. The second part of my post will tackle that.
In conclusion, Unity is God-orchestrated; a spiritual grace that binds us together from the inside. Uniformity is the by-product of man’s idea, a pressure from the outside. Think about this for a second; if God really wanted us to adhere strictly to the code of uniformity, I bet it would have been much easier if He had created us alike with same language, and traits, and perhaps same physical structure. That may even pose another problem. You look at the person who is exactly like you and you wonder if what you see is the person of Christ in him or just another good-natured version of yourself. However, when we are surrounded by a confluence of cultures, languages and traits, which we have no in-depth knowledge about yet the possibility of finding Christ in others exists, we see the God-divine display of unity at hand. A.W Tozer puts this analogy in a much excellent way by saying that one hundred worshippers that meet to readily gaze their eyes upon Christ are nearer in heart to one another not because they decide to be uniform in structure or style but it is that each bows individually to the absolute truth wrought in the person of Christ. That automatically tunes the rest to one another. That is much more beautiful, much more stupendous.
Is it then so surprising to see unity in diversity when the world itself images the image of an infinite creator who expresses the mystery of one-ness in unity and three-ness in diversity?
Here is the link to the second part of this post. Thank you