Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 9, 1961
NUMBER 14, PAGE 3,14a

Matters Of Agreement

Benjamin Franklin

Many sermons have been written, and many more have been preached, on matters of difference. Many more are still being written, and spoken, of the same sort. It may have a good tendency to turn and look at the other side of the picture — the matters of agreement. Differences have been preached and written on so much that some may be led to conclude that there is but little in the form of religious teaching in the world but differences. The time has come to bring out the great matters of agreement, show how largely there is an agreement, and push these great matters of agreement through the world, and gain the attention of a thinking public to them, that the people may, for a time, lose sight of the matters of disagreement.

Are there, then, any considerable number of items of importance on which there is quite a general agreement, in what is usually styled Protestant Christendom, to which the attention of the people may be directed; matters in which they are already one, and in which there is no dispute of consequence? There certainly are, and the purpose of this discourse will be to bring some of the more prominent of them to view.


The prime article of the Jew's religion, that "the Lord thy God is one God," is true, and there is an almost universal assent to it. Or, to state it a little more fully, that there is one God, the Jehovah, the I AM, the Infinite One, the Self-existent and Unoriginated One, who inhabits eternity, the Creator and Upholder of all things, visible and invisible, may be declared almost anywhere, with scarcely a dissenting voice. Men have speculated about his nature and attributes, and may speculate again; may differ and dispute about things they call not understand; but that there is one God — the Jehovah — there is scarcely a dissenting voice. This one foundation truth of all revelation; this one great central idea, that pervades all faith, all piety, all worship, and all religious instruction, is almost universally received by all Protestants. In it they are nearly all one — all agreed. What a wonderful matter it is, in this age of confusion, that there is this almost universal agreement in this great and fundamental matter. Here we are on solid rock, undisputed and indisputable ground In this general agreement there is great power to lead to oneness — to unity! Wherever we are, whoever we are, whatever we may be, or however we may have been misled, when we think of worship, the Lord our God comes up into our view. As the Athenian Pagan poets sang, without knowing the amount of it, "We are his offspring," and by creation, if in no higher sense, we are his children. But if we are his children by adoption, we are heirs of God. Here, then, we start on the great article of agreement; not merely a matter in which we can, but one in which we do agree — that "there is one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all and in all."


There is one Lord Jesus, the Christ the Son of the living God. The agreement treated in this discourse is that among those who believe the Bible, and not among men who do not believe the clear language of Scripture — not among skeptics of any grade. These believe that there is one Lord Jesus the Christ; that he was before all things; before Abraham was, that he Is "the true God and eternal life;" that in him dwells all the fulness of the Deity substantially; that he is the only Mediator between God and men, the only Savior; that no man comes to the Father but by him; that God has lifted him up to draw all men to him, and commanded all men to "hear him," there is simply an almost unanimous agreement. This grand central idea of the new institution; this fundamental idea on which the whole institution rests, is generally received, and all are one in it throughout the world. They may have speculations about it on which they differ, but in the foundation truth, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, they are a unit. The plain matter to do is to receive this great truth and unite on it, and leave the vain speculations of men about the truth, and be no more perplexed with them.

The belief of the truth, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, will save the sinner, if followed out in its legitimatq requirements; but the belief of the speculations of men about that truth will never save anybody. Here, then, we have an agreement in the great central idea of the kingdom of God, the Lord Jesus the Christ, the very foundation of all faith, piety and hope. What a poem there is in the agreement in this one item, to bring believers to oneness — to "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace!"

But the agreement extends. There is one Holy Spirit, "the Comforter," "the eternal Spirit" who inspired all the prophets and the apostles — the Spirit of all truth and all revelation! No man talks of two Holy Spirits, or any other number but one. There is simply but one Holy Spirit. In this there is no difference Men may disagree about the nature of the Spirit; his work, influence, or something of that kind; but about the existence of the one eternal Spirit, the Spirit of all truth and all revelation, there is a general agreement. Men may be under the influence of other spirits, and possibly not know it, but they certainly do not advocate the idea of other spirits. But the things taught in the Bible, all agree, are of the Holy Spirit — the Spirit of God. This is a great item of agreement, and, if properly considered, will have a great power in bringing about and maintaining unity.


There is one Bible, and but one The word Bible means book. There is but one that is the Bible, or the book. We have one volume, styled the Bible, that is from God. It is the Bible, the volume, the book. It contains the whole will of God to man — the complete revelation from heaven. It is not simply a good book or a book containing good things, that teaches good morals, or was a good book in its day, but it is the book of God. It is the only divine book; the only complete, final and absolute authority; the only book for all nations, kindreds, tribes, tongues and peoples of all the earth. It is not a national book; not American, English, French, or German, but one book of God for all the world; and not merely one book, but the book, for all the world. It is the only book that was made perfect when it came from the hand of its Author; the only one that can never be improved, amended, or corrected. It is a stereotyped book, made correct at the start, for all countries, all time and all people. It is the only orthodox book. It is in all the churches; all read from it, pronounce it divine, pray over it, preach from it, thank the Lord for it, eulogize it, sing of it, and style it "the book of God."

This wonderful book has nothing local about it. It is neither eastern, nor western, northern nor southern. It knows nothing of State lines, nor national lines, but is for all countries. It is the book sent out by all the Bible Societies, the Tract Societies, and commended by all as divine. We have, then, one book on which we are all agreed; that we all receive and commend — the final and absolute authority. What an item this is for unity! What excuse can be offered for not taking this one book and uniting on it? Surely there can be none!

(Editor's note: This is the opening section in Benjamin Franklin's great sermon on "Matters of Agreement." The entire sermon (with many others of equal value) is found in his book, "The Gospel Preacher - Volume 117 which can be ordered from the Gospel Guardian Company.)