E pluribus unum is illustrative of something which should be an accepted understanding and practice of all Christians. This Latin phrase means “Out of many, one.” These words were adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782 as the traditional motto for our country. They also appear on the Great Seal. The motto, however, was never codified by law. As a result, it lost its place of prestige in 1956 when the Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396), adopting “In God We Trust” as the official motto.
About 400 years earlier, John Calvin, spoke of this same concept. He realized that one of the Devils foremost strategies was to sow disunity, division, and discontent. He knew that if the gospel was to prosper the brethren would have to put aside petty differences and work together. He wrote of this in a letter to a trusted colleague: “Among Christians there ought to be so great a dislike of schism, as that they may always avoid it so fast as lies in their power. That there ought to prevail among them such a reverence for the ministry of the word and the sacraments that wherever they perceive these things to be, there they must consider the church to exist…nor need it be of any hindrance that some points of doctrine are not quite so pure, seeing that there is scarcely any church which has not retained some remnants of former ignorance.” 1
Jesus said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold,” and yet we are so prone to limit the reach of grace to “us four and no more.” If our group of Christ-followers are the only ones who are going to heaven there will be plenty of elbow room within the celestial gates.
1Charles W. Colson, The Body, 1992, Word Publishing, p. 107-108.
By Dr. Gayle Woods