I have been a committed follower of Christ for close to three decades and have read hundreds of Christian literature during this period. As I read through ONE, suddenly it occurred to me that I simply cannot remember if I have ever read any book that critically addresses the matter of the unity of the Church (oh, I remember one: “Let us return to Christian Unity” by Kokichi Kurosaki). Truth be told, books on such a topic are very rare because, in the present circumstances, unity remains a mirage, a utopia that merely exists in the Christian fantasy. And because virtually all those capable of authoring a book on the topic are themselves victims of the current reality of factionalization in the Body, such an attempt will be largely theoretical, since you can’t give what you don’t have.
I will therefore consider Henry Hon’s book, “ONE”, a major breakthrough in the spiritual research of fostering unity. It offers a very practical approach to how believers today can overcome those divisive elements and demonstrate practically our oneness in Christ. Thankfully, it is not bashing at the traditional modes of Christian fellowship but rather helps to redefine and clarify them, in the light of scripture, and shows how the current church structure can still exist side by side the Ekklesia.
The 380-paged book of about 19 chapters is written as an expose on the Lord's prayer in John 17 in which Jesus discloses that He has given the believers three essential gifts - eternal life, truth and glory - for bringing them into oneness. Each of these gifts is then discussed as a section of the book. There are some practical applications at the end of each chapter to help the reader apply what has been learned.
Reading through, I am sure that, for the first time, many people will realize that there is a fundamental difference between the Ekklesia which the Lord promised to build and what we have popularly called churches (our local congregations) for several centuries. This difference has been largely unknown and as a result, we have been busy building our various ministries and organizations while the Ekklesia has remained in the shadows. This is a reminiscence of the Haggai 1:3 where the returnees from exile were building their own paneled houses while the Lord’s own house was in ruins. ONE strongly encourages all believers to commit to the task of building up the One Body and emphasizes that all gifts and ministries are actually meant to serve this One purpose.
Aside the practical discussion on oneness, a sizeable chunk of the book focuses on laying a solid foundation of the basic truths of the Christian faith - something that has become up for grabs in this generation, unfortunately. It covers those concepts such as the new birth, growing in grace and waxing strong in the Spirit, the place and practice of the scriptures and prayer in our spiritual growth, the person and mission of Jesus and God’s economy. If you are a serious-minded believer with a large appetite for solid meat, you will find this book a delightful read and a resource material to treasure. Do yourself a favour: get yourself a copy and get one as unique Christmas present for a friend. And if Jesus could pray for the oneness of all believers, so should you.
Niu Nation Publishers
Ile Ife, Osun State