The church of today is in free-fall because it is a house divided against itself. And, the only hope for a possible unification of Christianity is Jesus. The invisible, spiritual, brotherhood and sisterhood that Jesus personally advanced is not characterized by theological uniformity but rather by spiritual unity. The Jesus brotherhood is the true church and it must not be eclipsed by even a well intentioned and well organized institution.
Spiritual unity is achieved only through faith union with the living Jesus. The visible church should not continue to impede the progress, of the invisible and spiritual brotherhood of the kingdom of God, by insisting on a uniform response to creative diversity. The non-Christian world is simply not going to capitulate to such an unattractive and sect-divided Christendom. To conceive of God as a slavish law-bound power is to misrepresent the true devotion of our loving Heavenly Father.
Most differences within the church are the result of a great humanity’s individual and varying response to spirit leading. To insure the harmony of the whole, in the face of underlying creational differences, it should be recognized there is a basic uniformity of character within the complementary Spirit ministries while there is also a diversity of function. The spiritual siblinghood is destined to become a living organism that is far greater than any institutionalized social organization can ever be. It may very well find such social organizations serviceable, but it must not ever be displaced by them.
Religious experience within a cultural, ethnic, social, or racial group derives its unity from the identical nature of God’s indwelling each individual. Humanity’s unselfish interest in the welfare of other persons originates with this Divine indwelling. Because personality is uniquely bestowed, no two persons are alike. Therefore no two human beings will identically interpret Divine guidance. The Spirit of Divinity, which lives within our minds, compensates for this differential response by enabling us to become understandingly sympathetic with one another.
The religion of the Spirit reveals the unifying and coordinating quality we have learned to recognize as Divinity. This attribute of God progressively draws us together while the religions of lesser authority only divide us, pushing us against each other. By the mid-twentieth-century, theologians and philosophers had formulated more than five hundred different definitions of religion. Because religion is intensely personal, in actuality, there are as many religions as there are people. Theological and philosophical uniformity will thus remain elusive. However, because groups of people can and do experience spiritual unity, we may indeed learn to appreciate and value diversity with respect to the interpretation of religious thought and experience.
The Spirit of God is real. The divine impulses that originate with the Spirit complement that indwells and envelops us are uniquely conditioned by our own experiential interpretations. Such interpretations are altogether personal and therefore different from the religious experiences of all other human beings. The sincere pursuit of truth, beauty, and goodness invariably leads us Godward.
If philosophy is ever to achieve unity, in the intelligent comprehension of the universe, then both science and religion must become less dogmatic and far more tolerant of criticism. The church that dares to remove all creedal pressure from its members is the one that will attract a congregation that grows, increasing its joy, while enjoying the liberty of ennobling deeds, of loving service, and of merciful ministry.
The kingdom of heaven in the hearts of individual human beings will create religious unity because any and all religious groups composed of such religious believers will eventually be free from all notions of ecclesiastical authority. There is great hope for any church that worships the living God, validates the siblinghood of humanity, and encourages the enjoyment of religious liberty. Unity may be discovered in the full expression of our unique personal interpretations with respect to the truths of religious belief and the facts of religious experience.
Cohesiveness within any religious group depends upon spiritual unity, not on theological uniformity. The only “religious sovereignty” is the relationship with the One in whom we live, and move, and have our being. The religions of authority tend to compel uniformity that crystallizes into lifeless creeds. But the religion of the spirit requires only the unity of experience, a commonality of insight and, perhaps, a shared vision of destiny. It makes full allowance for diversity of belief. It does not require a rigid uniformity of viewpoint and outlook. With every scientific discovery the discoverer was free to make the discovery.
Uniformity in belief is impossible given the present state of the world. Within the consciousness of a healthy group, there can never be doctrinal finality or sectarian superiority. The religion of the spirit does not demand uniformity of intellectual views while it does foster the formation of, and affinity between, kindred souls. Jesus prayed for unity among his followers. He did not insist upon uniformity. True righteousness nourishes the creative spirit. It recognizes individual experience with the living realities of eternal truth. It fosters progressive communion with the divine spirits of the Father and the Son,