At first glance it seems like doctrinal differences between churches pose an insurmountable barrier to unity. However, John believes lack of love for Christians in other traditions is what actually stands in the way.
John’s beliefs are rooted in his own experience. As he has taken initiative to build relationships with Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians he has realized his attitudes rather than his doctrine were what prevented him pursuing unity whole-heartedly.
John is advocating a unity-in-diversity in which churches who affirm the historic creeds and make Jesus central can join together in mission even though their beliefs and worship styles are not identical.
I liked John’s comments about the Bible, that everyone interprets it; and so it is wise to be humble rather than holding prideful certainty about one’s own beliefs being right and other Christians’ beliefs being wrong. This humility opens doors for shared mission between Christ-centered, historic-creed-affirming churches.
John points out, as churches grow closer to Christ they will grow closer to each other.
This sounds so simple, yet the implicit message “If you are not pursuing unity you are not as close to Christ as you could be” is radical and thought-provoking. It lays out a challenge to all Christians to examine their hearts and repent of attitudes and behavior that oppose unity.
I hope Christians will read John’s book and consider whether pursuing unity has the priority it ought to have in their lives. And will follow John’s example and suggestions for bringing Jesus’ prayer closer to fruition.
Note: although I’m no longer a churchgoer, I posted this review because John is a friend of mine and I believe what he says in this book will move the church in a positive direction.