Francis Chan has a way of communicating a passionate message rooted in Scripture. Since his first book, Crazy Love, many readers have seen the way he calls for a more passionate faith, and have been drawn to his heartfelt pleas and his call to examine the Scripture more closely. His latest book, Until Unity, is a call for Christians to unite, and release some of the grip we have on divisive theology.
Whether you are hoping to find more common ground among believers, or you often get caught up in doctrinal divisions, Until Unity could still be a book for you. The strength of the book, as Francis Chan points out, rests primarily in the introduction, where he lists several Bible verses that show how valuable unity among believers is to God, and how frequently the topic is addressed in the Bible. He encourages readers to truly meditate on those verses in order to see how important unity is to God. He goes into so much detail in the later chapters pointing out how unity should be a focus. Yet, he also points how a few ways to protect valuable theology, and exercise church discipline to remove members. For some readers, this will be a book to encourage a passion they already have for uniting fellow believers. For others, this book may challenge their views, leading them to consider ways they are causing harm by fighting for the right doctrines, or which points are really worth dividing the faith over.
I’ll admit that I had issues trying to wrap my head around how this whole unity thing could truly work. I kept thinking about all the doctrinal issues that divide, and had a hard time seeing how we could relax on some of these issues in order to unify. He did share his personal experience with how he’s changed his view on some of the issues, just from knowing believers on the side of those issues. As much as it can seem daunting to focus on the big picture, on a much smaller scale, we can conceptualize at least a few small changes we could make to build a stronger, more united church body.
Francis Chan emphasizes being led by the Holy Spirit as you seek ways to unify. As such, he doesn’t give a list of actionable steps. You won’t find a list of five things churches must do to build unity in their church here. Instead, this book reads more like an outline for sparking the passion that can be carried out into action. What this call for unity motivates you to do next will look different for many readers. For some, it may entail establishing a parachurch ministry that unites believers from different churches around a common worship. Some church leaders may feel led to reevaluate their mission statement, consider who feels welcome and unwelcome in their church, or even work with different churches around a common cause.
Since this book really serves as more of a conversation starter, it might be a good one to read with fellow ministry partners as you consider ways you feel led to implement the idea of unity as you carry out your ministry. This might be the type of book that leads another writer to come up with a deeper action plan and steps to carry out to unify a church. However, Francis Chan leaves it open to determine what you should do next, even if you are on the same page with wanting to unify. He primarily emphasizes starting small. It all begins with personal change. Start by having a heart for unity, unite your heart with Christ, work to show unity in your marriage, in your church, and in your community.