A person does not need to venture very deep into Christian circles before encountering theological debates. In the midst of those debates many take up as their rallying cry, “Unity on the essentials! Charity on the non-essentials!” That sounds well and good until you disagree on what is essential and what is non-essential.
I have been wondering how theological debates fit into Jesus’ prayer for his followers:
““I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:20–23, ESV)
It would seem from these verses that Jesus desires that his followers would be one and would experience unity in the same way that he and his Father are united. The thousands of denominations that Christianity has splintered into suggests that such a unity has not been achieved by followers of Christ.
I care deeply about theology and have blessed with opportunities to teach theology and related subjects. For as much as I enjoy theology, I am frustrated by the lack of theological unity among people who truly do seek to be faithful to God’s Word. For some humor, and perhaps a bit of sobering insight, take a look at this comic. Credit for this comic goes to “Tom’s Doubts cartoon by Saji.” It can be found all over the Internet, including here and here.