Several months ago, during a conversation with one of the elders at our former church, the elder quoted to me John 17:22 (Jesus praying "that they may be one"). The elder intended this to chide me for participating in something he and the other elders saw as disturbing the unity of that church.
By His grace, the Lord led me to respond to this elder with John 17:17 a few verses before -- Jesus praying, "Sanctify them by thy truth, thy word is truth."
Then, this morning, I saw this quote from Spurgeon, in which he makes the same connection the Lord had shown me during my conversation with this elder:
To remain divided is sinful! Did not our Lord pray, that they may
be one, even as we are one”? (John 17:22). A chorus of ecumenical
voices keep harping the unity tune. What they are saying is,
“Christians of all doctrinal shades and beliefs must come together
in one visible organization, regardless… Unite, unite!” Such
teaching is false, reckless and dangerous. Truth alone must
determine our alignments. Truth comes before unity. Unity without truth is hazardous. Our Lord’s prayer in John 17 must be read in its full context. Look at verse 17: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” Only those sanctified through the Word can be one in Christ. To teach otherwise is to betray the Gospel.
Thanks be to God.
-Charles H. Spurgeon.