Vol.XVIII No.VI Pg.4
August 1981

"Birds Of A Feather"

Curtis Wubbena

There is an old adage that says, "Birds of a feather flock together". Similarly, the Old Testament prophet, Amos, says, "Shall two walk together, except they have agreed?" (Amos 3:3). Both statements imply a previous pact. Two do not take a walk together unless they have made prior arrangements as to the time and place.

But, togetherness alone does not exemplify the oneness advocated by Jesus. He prayed for unity based on acceptance of revealed truth. "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth" (Jn. 17:17). At times churches, political groups, etc. may "get together" to achieve mutual ends, even though ideologies remain distinct. This is not unity, it is union.

Such is the case in Acts 17:18. We learn of the unionization of two different schools of thought. "And certain also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, What would this babbler say? others, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached Jesus and the resurrection." They came together to fight the message of Paul. The preaching of Jesus and the resurrection was a direct attack of their outlooks of life.

Together they consciously or unconsciously made an agreement to destroy the message brought by Paul. To achieve this end they first tried to assassinate his character and integrity. He was labeled a "babbler." In other words, Paul was an intellectual cheap-jack, a retailer of second-hand philosophy, In turn; this was to cast a dark shadow over his teachings. This second-rate philosopher was presenting a second-rate way to live life.

Paul was not a babbler as they had supposed. He was a spokesman for the Most High. The message he brought was truth. It was the source of the kind of unity that pleases the Lord. It was the key to living life fully. He presented one God, and one way to please this God. "The God that made the world and all things therein, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is he served by men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being..." (Acts 17: 24-28). The Lord loves unity, but on his terms. For the Stoics and Epicureans, unity would have meant stripping themselves of man's ways and accepting God's ways.

If we expect to please the Lord today we must strive to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3). This type of oneness is dependent upon our acceptance of the Gospel. To enhance the cause of right we would do well to take a lesson from Acts 17. Listen to the plan before you start running down the man. He may be a spokesman of the Most High!