Since I've seen a post from other church teachers (Gordon Ferguson and Steve Staten) regarding their feelings about the unity proposal, should we expect some analysis or comments from you as well? The reason I ask is because many disciples hold you in high esteem, and feel that you try to teach the Scriptures with integrity. Also, judging from the Q&A log, many ask your advice, opinion, or scriptural interpretation on a range of issues. If you don't wish to comment or post this on your website, I certainly would understand and respect your right to decline to answer. I was just wondering what your thoughts were. You knew someone was going to ask you about this, if they haven't already.--David A. Poole
Hi! Thanks for your question. I do not usually use the website to address ICOC issues. Yes, many have asked me about this... and I have not held back from responding to each individual. Let me post your question and a few thoughts of my own.
The proposal I think is theologically sound. People want direction and connection. The proposal aims to facilitate this, which is commendable. Outside help was sought in the creating of this document. The drafting group sought the counsel of at least one Christian university professor in the Churches of Christ. This gives the proposal a certain balance and thoughtfulness which I am sure many appreciate. (In case anyone is wondering, no, I was not a member of the committee that worked on the unity document, though I was contacted during the final stages of its production.)
Throughout church history, creeds and statements of faith tend eventually to be used as instruments of division. Hopefully this will not happen in the current situation. One old Restoration Movement slogan was "No book but the Bible, no creed but Christ." I like that. Not to say we should never read other books or attempt to articulate what we believe. As long as we understand that no human document possesses any inherent authority--that is reserved only for the word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13)--we should not stray far from the path. The brothers who put together the proposal are to be commended. Not every congregation will feel comfortable signing on, and that is fine. The point is to follow God's priorities--as individuals and as congregations--and to stay connected in Christian fellowship.
For more on this, please see my (archived) paper, Unity on Three Levels.